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Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 10, which will increase minimum wage in California by $2 over two years. Photo by Becca Andrews.

Governor Brown signs law to raise minimum wage

on September 25, 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 10 today, which will increase minimum wage in California from the current $8 floor wage to $10 by 2016 – one of the highest rates in America.

“We’re talking over $2 billion moving to those who need it most,” Brown said. “I was brought up to believe in the doctrine of the living family wage. That doctrine says that anyone who works is worthy … and ‘worthy’ means they can support their families.”

Assembly Bill 10, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, will raise minimum wage to $9 on July 1, 2014, and to $10 on January 1, 2016.

“This bill is really about giving the dignity and respect to hard-working Californians who only want to provide for their own families with their hard-earned wages…but this bill got a lot of momentum at the beginning of this year, when President Barack Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage,” Alejo said.

At the press conference, which was held at Cypress Mandela Training Center on Poplar Street, Brown said today was a celebration of something “very important.”

“We are taking the step in the state legislature to give money to those who work very hard to get a decent amount of compensation. Nothing could be a simpler, clearer or more moral thing to do,” Brown said.

Brown also said the raise will help California’s green-card immigrant population find a stronger foothold in the state economy.

“A strong majority of people in California are sympathetic to the plight of those who come to California to live and work,” Brown said. “That’s the case, that’s the way it’s been in the past, and I’m hoping that spirit will spread across the county.”

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said in a statement released today that she supports the new legislation and sees it as a step in the right direction for California.

“Oakland, much like California itself, has an incredibly diverse workforce and population,” Quan said. “Many of our residents and workers are new immigrants and low-income families for whom this modest increase can make a critical, life-changing difference. I’m proud of the Oakland community’s work for this cause, and I’m grateful to the legislature and Governor Brown for taking this important step forward.”

This is the state’s first minimum wage increase since 2008, when it rose 50 cents to the current $8 rate.

Assembly Bill 10 comes in the midst of a national debate regarding minimum wage. Earlier this year, President Obama called for a national minimum wage increase from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour.

The issue of minimum wage has been a hot topic locally as well. Last August, fast-food workers in the Bay Area went on strike, demanding a minimum wage hike to $15.

The California Chamber of Commerce website had listed A.B. 10 among its “Job Killers 2013” list of proposed laws, calling it an “unfair” increase in costs to employers and claiming the wage hike would “decimate” job growth.

“We all need to work together to improve the economy to offset the increased labor costs that small business will incur,” said Denise Davis, vice president of media relations and external affairs for the chamber.

However, Phil Jaber, owner of local coffee chain Philz Coffee, approves of the law, noting that he has more than 300 people employed at his business.

“It’s how we conduct our business and we enhance our team effort by raising minimum wages,” Jaber said.

San Francisco holds the top spot in America for the city with the highest minimum wage at $10.50 an hour.

Correction: Gov. Jerry Brown said: “I was brought up to believe in the doctrine of the living family wage. That doctrine says that anyone who works is worthy … and ‘worthy’ means they can support their families.” A previous version of the story contained an error in the governor’s statement.


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