Minimum wage to increase in the Bay Area

Erika Myers,

With minimum wage increase measure Proposition J now in place, the minimum wage in Bay Area cities is on the rise since the beginning of this year.

Prop J made the November ballot after the proposal by Mayor Ed Lee. Voters put this proposition into effect and surrounding cities of the Bay Area followed suit. As of March 1, 2015 Oakland will also raise the wage to $12.25 and it is set to rise in subsequent years with the cost of living, according to

For the past decade, San Francisco has led the country with the highest minimum wage rate. San Francisco’s spot at the top will continue as the pay rate gradually increases to $15.00 per hour by 2018 and adjust annually for cost of living according to the measure. As of Jan. 1 this year the minimum wage rose from $10.74 to $11.05 and will rise again in May to $12.25, according to the bill.

The Coalition for the Fair Economy is the largest group of supporters for this measure, according to
The group argues that the cost of living in the Bay Area is too high and the minimum wage simply cannot economically support the working class.
“I’m actually going to start making money now,” said Lisa Mills, a 20-year-old from San Francisco who has been working at West of Pecos for the past year. “It’s not much, but now I can start putting small amounts of my checks into savings for a cushion when my money runs thin.”

Oakland had its own minimum wage increase ballot measure in November, Measure FF, that also went into effect after the first of the this year.
While the cost of living is significantly lower than San Francisco, the cost of living in Oakland is still one of California’s highest. Oakland voters passed this measure with an overwhelming 81.77 percent voting in favor to increase the city’s minimum wage to $12.25 beginning in March, according to the Alameda Registrar of Voters.

Some residents of Oakland said the initiative would cause the job market to move into neighboring unincorporated cities where the minimum wage is lower.
Michael Leblanc of the restaurant Pican stated that the change would make his payroll increase by $300,000 for his workers who are paid between $14 – $29 dollars.

Andrea Salazar, who works as a manager of a makeup boutique in Oakland, already makes above minimum wage and this bill will not affect her pay.
“With the rent prices going up in Oakland, you would think my pay would increase too,” said Salazar.

Salazar would ideally want her pay to increase accordingly with the minimum wage, but that is not the case. “It’s not fair, the prop should have had a clause that everyone working below $15.00 [an hour] gets a raise,” said Salazar.

There are currently 29 states that have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25, according to the Department of Labor.