Chris Kerrigan Interviewed on Fair Wages by Zach Thiesen

Chris Kerrigan Interview

with Zack Thiesen, for Fair Wage Folks


Displaying chris-k-interview.jpeg

Zack:  In your estimation, how will the ordinance benefit this particular part of our county?

Chris:  Well, it’s going to provide people who are working for a living with a wage that’s much closer to a living wage and I think that’s important because it’s gonna allow families and workers who work and live in Eureka the ability to afford a better quality of life. And it’s going to allow people to afford to live in the neighborhoods that they work in. Specifically, if you’re working minimum wage, you’re taking home about $1,200 a month, give or take. For somebody, under the Minimum Wage Ordinance, it’s gonna bump them up to $1,700 a month. So it’s going to provide about $500 a month per full-time worker – extra take-home pay each month. That can allow you a lot of things, especially when you’re looking at rent, you know, $600-$800 minimum, if you’re lucky enough to find a spot for that.

And how it benefits people who are, you know, more than just the lower-wage workers – how it benefits the entire community and the economy – is that per 1,000 low-wage workers, it’s gonna pump an extra $2.5 million into the economy. We know that our economy is stimulated by spending. And so when folks who are working have more money to spend, their gonna be able to take their family out to a movie, or to the show, or be able to go out to ice cream with their family, or spend a little extra in the local stores… do something that they can’t normally do. So that provides them with a much, much better quality of life and more economic security, but it also stimulates our economy. And that additional spending is going to bring more people to open up businesses to take advantage of the increased spending. Our economy is spending driven, you know, it’s like 70% of the economy is driven by spending. The best way we can grow our economy is to make sure that those who are willing to work for a living have a decent quality of life. And that’s the whole fairness issue that this ordinance addresses, it’s crucial; is that it says to big corporations that if you’re going to come into our community… they take a lot of stuff, they take a lot of things from our community. They ought to pay their employees a decent quality of life. I think that’s just a basic fairness issue.

Zack:  Is this just an economic “shot in the arm”? What is the significance of the increase being indexed for inflation?

Chris:  Well, I think that so working families, over time, won’t fall further and further behind. That’s the importance of indexing it for inflation. So we won’t be dependent on the political leaders to have to give them their increase, it’ll just be built in. I think that’s important. You’ve probably heard the statement that if the minimum wage kept pace with inflation…

Zack:  Ya, it’d be like 22 bucks…

Chris:  (Laughs) Yeah! And so it hasn’t worked out to rely on our politicians to always do the right thing for working families. But what’s amazing to me is that this coincides with this tremendous increase in corporate wealth and profit, and they haven’t been willing to have a shared prosperity with the actual workers. They’ve kept minimum wage relatively low while their profits have ballooned. And I think that is what is inherently wrong. And that’s one of the problems with our economy.

Zack:  They don’t let it trickle down. I’ve never seen it trickle down.

Chris:  Ya, it’s never gonna trickle down! It’s totally the opposite of trickle down. And I tell people when I walk door-to-door that I believe in a bottom-up economy. You know, let’s make sure the people who are willing to work for a living have money to spend, and that’s going to stimulate our economy. We’re never gonna be able to give all the tax credits and breaks to the wealthy and think that it’s going to trickle down. That’s been a disaster for working families.

Zack:  The wage increase will apply to people working in exchange for Welfare benefits, like Welfare-to-Work and CalWORKS. Do you think an increase to a livable wage will make this transition more achievable and stable for those individuals who are trying to move away from a reliance on social services?

Chris:  Yes, absolutely. That’s a great question. I don’t know if I have much more to add than: It will. And that’s a great point. I think that’s the unfortunate thing, for people who are willing to work and trying to be productive members of society, you know, it’s forcing them to take two or even three jobs. And you know, it’s just not good for them, it’s taking them away from their family and away from their kids, and society has to pay for those costs anyways… so ya, I think it’s going to be great for families and those in that particular situation.

We pay for it. I see it with The Boys and Girls Club, is a great example. I volunteer with the kids there, and a lot of their family members are lower-wage workers, homecare workers for example, they come from the hospital in scrubs. They’re working lower-wage jobs. You know, we’re feeding them, and then we’re getting their homework done. But it just occurs to me, when they come to get their child, you know, why are we promoting an economic system – for these people that are willing to work – that is keeping them away from their kids? It’s just like, we’re paying for it with services… we have to pay for services anyways, so it would be better to strengthen those who are willing to work and make sure that they have a good quality of life and that they’re family unit is strong.

Zack:  It’s healthier.

Chris:  Yeah, totally. It’s like trying to keep people down or something.

Zack:  In your view, What is the primary purpose of economic development? How will your views on other issues – like the General Plan Update – benefit the lives of workers in Eureka?

Chris:  Well, for me, the primary purpose of economic development is to help folks who are willing to work within the 4th District, and within Humboldt County, have the ability to find a job, and a job that affords a good quality of life. Dignity – because it allows you to live, work and raise a family in the city that you work in.

In terms of the General Plan, by encouraging investment in the city centers where we have infrastructure, it provides more affordable options for families to live closer to town and closer to services where they’re not as dependent on a car, for example. It’s providing the option for workers to be able to live [in a way in which] they’re not as dependent on a car. And if you have to make a car payment, and you have to pay for insurance, and you gotta put gas in your car – if all your movement is auto-related – that’s a tremendous cost or burden on working families. So to have that option to live where your kids can play, and you can get to the grocery store without having to have a car, or two cars, for example, that helps relieve economic burden on working folks.

The other thing is that when we have investment in the City, and we have more “eyes on the street”, as the saying goes, there’s a synergy that’s created, and that is more likely to bring economic opportunity for families than if we just allow the conversion of our timber and agricultural lands and we see more empty buildings and the population shifting further and further out of town.

So, you know, investment in the 4th District, and also in housing, means a correlation of investment in job opportunities and businesses that will serve those residents, rather than if we were to just build it outside of town… Smart planning is important for these reasons…

Zack:  Bus prices here are pretty crazy.

Chris:  (Laughs) Bus prices are really expensive! I loved, when I went to Humboldt [State], the JackPass, which allowed me to go for free on any of the routes they serve.

Zack:  They don’t do that for CR [College of the Redwoods] students anymore.

Chris:  I know! They inexplicably voted that down, which was so silly… Yeah, I’d like to get that changed, to encourage more people to take advantage of public transportation.

Zack:  Does a higher minimum wage from large retailers and fast-food chains necessarily mean a higher cost-of-living for everyone in the city?

Chris:  Most studies show – the data shows – that it doesn’t. That really, the cost of living increase is far exceeded by the increased revenues in the economy and additional hiring that comes with a more robust economy, so it really offsets the idea that there’s a cost of living increase. Right now, so much of our money goes into paying for services, like you said, for the working poor. We just don’t have an economic system right now that’s truly fair. Because people who are working we’re subsidizing with tax dollars directly, because they don’t make enough to live. It’s keeping people down that way. It’s really hard to ask somebody to be able to give back to their community when you’re forcing them on the fringe. When you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, and living one medical catastrophe away from bankruptcy… we have to allow people who are working to share in economic prosperity. And when that happens, people are much more willing to give back to their community, to volunteer, for example.

Chamber of Commerce: Wrong!

shortlink here:

The Fair Wage Folks on the Eureka Chamber of Commerce Disingenuous Scare Tactics

May 21, 2014

Eureka, CA:

“And they were wrong!” Those are the words of Professor Scott Meyers-Lipton of San Jose State University when talking about the gloom and doom forecasts by opponents of Measure D, which raised the minimum wage for the City of San Jose. One year since San Jose residents passed Measure D, raising the minimum wage, employment is up, more businesses have been created, existing businesses thrive (including restaurants), and work hours remain the same. Here, the Eureka Chamber of Commerce doom and gloom response to the Eureka Fair Wage Act perpetrates the same old lie- that paying workers fairly kills jobs. The facts prove the Chamber’s statement to be nothing more than fear mongering. The Eureka Chamber of Commerce is just flat out wrong, as it raises the same old tired objections that were erroneously made about San Jose’s successful Measure D.

In California, higher minimum wage initiatives have passed whenever put to a vote of the people. The economies of those higher wage communities have done consistently better then their lower wage neighbors. This trend is also seen throughout the country. It is a shame that the Eureka Chamber failed to do any research. We could have provided the Chamber with the data from cities including San Jose,California and Santa Fe, New Mexico so it could make an informed decision and understand that Eureka will thrive with higher wages.  Many studies showing the positive, indisputable effects of raising the minimum wage are linked on our website,

The business and labor playing fields are not level now. The Eureka Fair Wage Act will help to make things more level, that’s right, fair. Huge corporations like Walmart and Target use slave labor in China, abusing millions of workers abroad and crushing local competition here in the U.S. Look at all the empty store fronts they have created in Eureka.

The empirical data all show that measures raising the minimum wage boost local business and strengthen local economies. It is a shame that the Eureka Chamber of Commerce, an entity supported by local tax dollars, is shilling for out-of-town corporations and acting against the peoples’ well-being- with no regard for the facts.




Hello Henderson Center! You Need Our Help! Your Customers Need More Spending Money!

reposted from


Hostile Henderloin

We took our show into Henderson center and the place is pretty stricken. lots of empty shops. The mean streets of Eureka don’t allow for sitting so the crippled among us were told we had to stand by The EPD.
Look for us to pop up somewhere during the Sculpture festivities this weekend, We’ll be the ones pestering you to give yourself a raise Eureka.
The area should be all for some stimulus as the number of for rent stores is atrocious. This is the result of doing it the Chamber of Commerce Way in Eureka. A year from now when the Fair Wage is building a stronger economy the people will have once again shown the politicians the way.

Fair Wage Folks Present Humboldt Street Life Concert #5-TODAY MAY 22 HENDERSON CENTER


Join us in Henderson Center for an afternoon delight of music outdoors!

Noon til 3 pm





We will be on F st & Grotto in front of the closed pharmacy next to B of A. You will hear us.

If you are a local musician who wants to participate contact me Humboldt.organizer @

Bring something to sit on or join our Bucket Brigade!

have a peaceful day,


Fair Wage Folks Meet TONIGHT May 6 Labor Temple Eureka 6:15 PM


We meet tonight at the Labor Temple Eureka 9th and E at 615 pm. Look for us upstairs or in the basement.


Our next Fair Wage Café is scheduled for Saturday May 17.

VOLUNTEER CALL OUT! We need musicians, cooks, bottle washers, clean up specialists, event personnel, drivers, your skill set is needed! Call

707 442 7465 or

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Eureka’s Fair Wage Folks To Speak At San Jose State University

Eureka’s Fair Wage Folks To Speak At San Jose State University

shortlink here: mnemonic link here:

March 11th Marks The Year Anniversary Of San Jose’s Successful $10 Minimum Wage Measure

Contact: James Decker (707) 761-5247,

Eureka, CA: Proponents of the Eureka Fair Wage Act, or Minimum Wage Ordinance (November 2014 City ballot), will speak at the 1-year anniversary of San Jose’s Measure D, which raised the minimum wage in the City of San Jose to $10 an hour. The anniversary press conference and celebration will be held on Tuesday March 11th at noon on the campus of San Jose State University at the Smith and Carlos Statue. The Fair Wage Folks will join speakers from the minimum wage movement in seven other California cities, talking about their local campaigns to raise wages. San Jose’s workers and economy have experienced positive impacts from Measure D’s higher minimum wage. The Fair Wage Folks are excited to be part of this historic California movement and invite local media outlets to document the March 11 event.

The Eureka Fair Wage Act is a people’s initiative, as was Measure D in San Jose, and will require employers with 25 or more workers in the Eureka city limits to pay a twelve dollar minimum wage.

Article on the history of San Jose’s student-led Measure D:

The public and press are welcome to contact The Fair Wage Folks (707) 442-7465 ,

and the San Jose Campus Alliance for Economic Justice

Flier for March 11 anniversary event attached.

San Jose Press Event flyer

Fair Wage Cafe – Jan. 11 @ Labor Temple in Eureka! Noon – 5 Family Event!

shortlink here

@ the Labor Temple, Noon to 5pm

Come on down to the Fair Wage Cafe, Saturday, January 11th! The Cafe is open from 12noon to 5pm at the Labor Temple in Eureka: 840 E Street, 9th & E. Bring friends and family for live music all day, coffee, tea, juice, lunch and snacks. There’s games for kids, fabulous live local music, and everything is Free!

FairWageCafeJan11,2013 (2)

This Cafe is open for relaxation and community building. If you or your organization want to set up informational tables, please do.

The Fair Wage Cafe is brought to you by the folks who wrote the Eureka Fair Wage Act. Family-friendly event. This is our exciting kick off for a successful year which will end in the people winning a higher minimum wage! Live music from local talents including Sarah Torres, Mad River Rounders, and Bill Holmes! Also, Chris Kerrigan, who will replace Frank Jager as Eureka mayor (hallelujah!) next year will speak.

Please share the FACEBOOK EVENT:

For more information call (707) 442-7465, email or check out

See you there!

The Fair Wage Folks

Fair Wage Cafe – Saturday August 24!


Come on down to the Fair Wage Cafe, Saturday, August 24th!  The Cafe is open from 12noon to 5pm at the Labor Temple in Eureka:  840 E  Street, where 9th and E intersect.  Bring friends and family for live  music all day, coffee, tea, juice, lunch and snacks.  There’s games for kids, fabulous live music, and everything is Free!

This Cafe is open for relaxation and community building. If you or your organization want to set up informational tables, please do.

The Fair Wage Cafe is brought to you by the folks who wrote the Eureka Fair Wage Act.  Come to the Cafe at the Eureka Labor Temple Saturday, open noon to 5.  Family-friendly event!

Please share the FACEBOOK EVENT:

For more information call (707) 442-7465 or email

See you there!