News Column

Minimum-wage Workers to Get $10 an Hour

June 21, 2013

The bill to increase California's minimum wage has been amended and now would increase the hourly pay for low-end workers to $10 by 2018, a spokesperson for the Assembly member who introduced the bill said.

AB 10, which has already been passed by the state Assembly and will be discussed at a Senate hearing next week, would raise minimum wage in California from its current $8 per hour to $8.25 on Jan. 1 of next year. It would go to $8.75 per hour in 2015 and to $9.25 per hour in 2016.

In its original form, after 2016 the minimum wage would have been indexed to the cost of living, meaning workers would get raises when inflation caused prices to go up. That is the feature in AB 10 that has been dropped, said Marva Diaz, a spokesperson for Assemblyman Luis Alejo, who proposed the measure late last year.

In its amended version, wages for the state's lowest-paid workers would go to $9.50 per hour in 2017 and to $10 in 2018, Diaz said in a Thursday, June 20 interview.

The decision to drop the cost-of-living provision -- which would not have driven the minimum wage down if the cost of living declined -- came after conversations that Alejo, D-Salinas, had with other Democrats in Sacramento, Diaz said.

The bill passed the full Assembly last month and is due to be heard in its new form before the Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday. After that it would move to the Senate's appropriations committee. Similar bills twice proposed by Alejo, in 2010 and 2011, did not make it out of an appropriations committee.

"It's a tough hurdle, but it is the Assembly member's top priority," Diaz said.

The Senate goes on a one-month recess on July 12.

Other states have initiatives on the books to increase minimum wages, and the issue was raised on the national level by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address in February.

A bill to increase the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour in three increments was proposed earlier this year by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will take up the proposal at a hearing Tuesday.


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Source: Copyright Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) 2013

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