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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

San Francisco Minimum Wage To Hit Nearly $10 an Hour

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 11:59 AM

click to enlarge Bob will now earn at least $10 an hour in San Francisco -- which may not be enough to buy a Bob the Builder toy! - SAN DIEGO INDYMEDIA
  • San Diego Indymedia
  • Bob will now earn at least $10 an hour in San Francisco -- which may not be enough to buy a Bob the Builder toy!
Bob will now earn at least $10 an hour in San Francisco -- which may not be enough to buy a Bob the Builder toy!
Ten bucks ain't what it used to be -- but, in the immortal words of Geddy Lee, "10 bucks is 10 bucks." And those were Canadian dollars.

Come Jan. 1, San Francisco's minimum wage will be just shy of 10 bucks -- $9.92 to be exact. And businesses with a service contract with San Francisco or property lease at the airport will be required to pay out at least $11.69. Those numbers are currently $9.79 and $11.54.

How many workers will this affect? It turns out that's a very good question.

The good people at the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition had no idea. The state Employment Development Department could only narrow down the 10th percentile of wages earned in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties to $10.28. As far as tracking minimum wage-earners, "We're not sure if anyone keeps track of that information," said EDD labor market analyst Jorge Villalobos. "It's very hard to pin down."

We'll say. The Department of Labor hasn't gotten back to us and the city controller referred us to the city economist who referred us to the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement -- which hasn't gotten back to us either. Our calls to U.C. Berkeley's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment also hasn't panned out yet.

click to enlarge If you don't pay these guys at least $9.92 an hour in San Francisco, you're breaking the law - SAN DIEGO INDYMEDIA
  • San Diego Indymedia
  • If you don't pay these guys at least $9.92 an hour in San Francisco, you're breaking the law
San Diego Indymedia
If you don't pay these guys at least $9.92 an hour in San Francisco, you're breaking the law
Finding out how many people earn minimum wage is a maximum effort. In any event, when the city passed its current ordinance in 2003, notes the Living Wage Coalition's Karl Kramer, the estimate was that this affected 20,000 workers.

The forthcoming uptick is calculated by the controller's office as an annual Cost of Living Increase. This year it was 1.3 percent. Minimum wage statewide, incidentally, is $8 an hour.

Kramer notes that not only bare minimum wage-earners benefit from San Francisco's ordinance. Those earning in the low two-digits tend to see their wages raised accordingly whenever minimum wage is hiked. This is known as the "Pushup Factor."

Finally, this wage level doesn't just apply to the McDonald's employees and guys who spin signs to draw your attention to condo openings. It covers you, too. If you were to pick up day laborers to paint your kitchen or help move across town, you're mandated to pay them the city-determined minimum wage.

To do otherwise, Kramer notes, is "wage theft." Day laborers are instructed to take the license plates of people who hire them and take their complaints to the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. "It happens quite a bit," Kramer says. "People in the day labor program are tracking employers who are systematically robbing workers of wages."

Remember, 10 bucks is 10 bucks.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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