living wage

Living wage fight explodes in East Oakland

Mar 16, 2015

If you want to hire a worker in Oakland, you’re going to have to pay a little bit more these days. At the beginning of the month, Measure FF, overwhelming approved by voters last November, finally became law. It raises Oakland’s minimum wage to $12.25 an hour.

But Oakland is a little bit different from Seattle, San Francisco, and dozens of other cities that passed minimum wage hikes last year. It already has a living wage ordinance on the books that requires employers benefitting from city subsidies to pay $14.10 an hour.

Living Wage: Profile of a low-wage earner

Mar 16, 2015
D'Wana Stewart

D’Wana Stewart is a native San Franciscan. She graduated from June Jordan School for Equity, a small high school on the southeast side of the city. Now 24, she's working three jobs and shares a home with her mother – it’s the only way she’s been able to stay in San Francisco. We spent a week with D’wana, to get a sense of her life, living on the minimum wage.

Dave Getzschman

Jennifer Piallat has worked in most every aspect of the restaurant industry – dishwasher, waitstaff, chef, manager – and those experiences have informed her decisions as owner of Zazie, a popular bistro in San Francisco's Cole Valley. Her employees receive a living wage, and benefits, and she's testified about her philosophies and process before the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tomorrow, voters in two key cities in the Bay Area will weigh in on measures to increase their minimum wage.  Both Oakland and San Francisco have propositions on the ballot that would increase their minimum wage to $12.25 per hour.

Living Wage: Workers weigh in

Sep 1, 2014
Flickr user Paul Sableman

Income inequality has become a key political issue in the Bay Area, and across America. The federal minimum wage has stayed at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

In the Bay Area, lawmakers and organizers are working to change local minimum wage laws. Berkeley’s minimum wage will reach $10.75 by 2016. Richmond's will top $12 the following year. Oakland and San Francisco may put wage hike measures before voters in November. But are these increases enough to live on? Many people at a rally in Oakland said they’re not even close. Let’s hear what they had to say.

Ben Trefny

 

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, San Francisco passed a variety of measures to help low wage workers try to keep up with the rising cost of living. The city now has the highest minimum wage in the country at 10 dollars 74 cents an hour. It also requires employers to either provide health benefits or pay into a pool so the city can cover their health care costs.

Flickr user Kristy Johnson

KALW's Todd Whitney researched what it really costs to live in the Bay Area. He and Ben Trefny sat down to check out the results.

"So we're talking nearly $33 an hour. Or you can think of it this way: that's two adults earning nearly $17 an hour." -Todd Whitney

Click on the audio player above to listen to whole segment

By setca_bbtk, in Flickr Creative Commons