[Nov. 12, 2015] LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Sheila Kuehl announced her endorsement of a ballot initiative to gradually raise California’s minimum wage to $15, an effort that has strong voter support and would benefit 3.3 million state residents.
“There is real momentum building all around California for raising the state minimum wage and this statewide campaign builds on the work already done by both the County and City of Los Angeles,” said Kuehl. “People living in California can’t really survive, much less thrive, on less than $19,000 a year. We have to make sure their quality of life matches the hard work they do every day.”
In July 2015, Kuehl led passage of Los Angeles County’s new ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in unincorporated areas, making it the most populous county in the United States to adopt such a law.
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which is sponsoring the ballot initiative, has collected 500,000 voter signatures to qualify the measure and plans to submit them soon to county elections officials. The deadline for submission is Jan. 27, 2016.
The initiative also has been endorsed by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Controller Betty Yee, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and nine California state legislators: Sens. Marty Block (D-San Diego) and Isadore Hall (D-Compton); and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara). In addition, more than 100 labor and community organizations from across the state support the measure.
The Fair Wage Act of 2016 would raise California’s minimum wage to $11 in 2017 and then gradually increase it a dollar a year until it reaches $15 in 2021. Once the minimum wage reaches $15, it will automatically be adjusted each year to keep pace with the cost of living. California’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour and is set to rise to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016.
According to a recent Field Poll, 68 percent of registered California voters support the initiative. Here are some facts about the minimum wage in California:
- A full-time worker making the minimum wage in California earns less than $19,000 a year;
- 3 million Californians earn less than $15 an hour;
- 8 million people in California earn the minimum wage, including 200,000 who are older than 55;
- More than half of minimum wage workers in California are women;
- 95 percent of low-wage workers in California are adults who are at least 20-years-old; and half are over 30.
- More than two million children live in poverty in California.
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Paid for by Lift Up California, Sponsored by Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West, A Coalition of Non-Profit and Labor Organizations. Major funding by The Fairness Project and Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West.