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Sacramento Minimum Wage Proposal Draws Opposition From Labor, Business

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio
 

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento "Task Force On Income Inequality" has proposed an increase in the minimum wage. It's drawing opposition from both business and labor groups for different reasons. The plan is scheduled to be presented to the City Council Tuesday night.

The plan would increase the hourly wage in four steps until it reaches $12.50 in 2020.

It includes exemptions for employees under 18, who make a certain amount of money in tips, or who are in job-training programs.

Peter Tateishi is head of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.  He objects to a part of the proposal that would allow small  businesses an extra six months to comply.

"That's just not long enough to help those small businesses," Tateishi says, "especially when in raising the wage, it will put them at a competitive disadvantage to the other businesses within our regional economy."

Fabrizio Sasso heads the Sacramento Central Labor Council and is against most of the proposal including a health care credit for employers.

"Without the employee actually accepting the healthcare plan," Sasso says, "Their wages can be deducted by $1.50 an hour and that actually increases over time."

Sasso also says the increase to $12.50 isn't enough and would give employers greater incentive to take away hours from older workers and give those hours to younger employees. 

"We do not want to create a system where workers can be exploited at a young age," Sasso says, "And that's their entry into the workforce and take shifts from people who are working these low-wage jobs."

Tateishi says the increase is too much and is based on unreasonable cost-of-living increases.

"The indexing that they opted to use in the proposed ordinances tie to the Bay Area," Tateishi says, "and that's really not applicable for us."

Jot Condie with the California Restaurant Association supports the efforts made by the task force.

"It was probably one of the more thoughtful processes that we've been involved in," Condie says, "And we've been involved in this issue in virtually every city in California."

But the association will withdraw its support if anything from the proposal is removed.

A part of the ordinance would allow a sub-minimum-wage to be paid if a person's tips and hourly wage exceed $15. That provision could be removed because it appears to violate state law.

The state hourly wage increases from $9 to $10 in January.