The Fair Wage Folks to Eureka City Council, 6/17/14 [includes research links]

The passage of the Measure R, the Eureka Fair Wage Act, is essential to the future economic vitality of Eureka and this entire region.

Measure R, the Eureka Fair Wage Act, will raise the minimum wage.

Measure R is legally robust, is tailored to the needs of Eureka, and raising wages is a proven way to increase employment, build a strong and healthy economy, and benefit the lives of working people and their families.

Measure R will raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour for workers in Eureka of large employers. Large employers are those with 25 or more employees in the Eureka city limits.

Measure R will take effect 90 days after the voters pass it. Nonprofit employers are given 18 months from the date of passage to adjust their grant funding and be in full compliance. The wage of $12 per hour will be adjusted for inflation each year after it is passed, to keep pace with the cost of living. Those employers not covered by the Act will continue to be required to pay the state minimum wage.

The city attorney is charged with enforcing Measure R, the Eureka Fair Wage Act.

Measure R was reviewed by attorneys prior to circulation and was found to be legally sound.

There are extensive precedents for the Eureka Fair Wage Act. I’m providing the council with a thorough report entitled “Citywide Minimum Wage Laws, A New Policy Tool for Local Governments” by the Brennan Center.

Measure R, the Eureka Fair Wage Act, is legally sound. In California, the legislature and courts have made clear that cities have the power to raise their minimum wage. Legal analyses indicate that, in most states, California being one, cities may regulate minimum wages under their local “home rule” authority – which allows cities to enact legislation to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of their communities. California Labor Code § 1205(b) allows cities the power to enact minimum wage laws. Other relevant legal references and cases are in the Brennan Center report just provided to the Council. 1

Rumors that parts of the act are illegal are without foundation.

Since 1994 living wage laws requiring higher pay for different employer classifications have been legal in California. These are also known as prevailing wage laws.

Measure R, the Eureka Fair Wage Act, is tailored to the community to promote maximum positive impact on the local economy.

The evidence shows that raising the minimum wage improves local economies. Here are copies of “Minimum Wages and Employment,” a case study by Princeton economists David Card and Allan V. Krueger.

Comparisons of two adjacent cities, one low wage, the other with a new higher minimum wage, show that the higher wage locals have increased economic growth, higher employment rates, higher tax revenues, and higher worker retention rates.

One year after the passage of San Jose’s Measure D, which raised the city’s minimum wage, surrounding communities are inspired and are now raising their minimum wage to stay competitive. Richmond went to $12dollars and 30 cents by a vote of the city council. Mountain View and Berkeley city councils are considering ordinances to raise the minimum wage in their cities. Strongly supported by organized labor, people in Sunnyvale are engaged in an initiative drive, as are the people of Davis. The San Francisco government is pushing for a minimum wage of $15 an hour, having experienced the positive effects of raising San Francisco’s minimum wage 11 years ago.

Cities that have raised their minimum wage are out-competing lower wage cities.

For instance, in San Jose, since the passing of Measure D:





* from the left hook, Scott Meyers-Lipton

We, the Fair Wage Folks, urge the City Council to support Measure R and to instruct city staff to create an argument in favor of Measure R, the Eureka Fair Wage Act, and for the people to vote YES on Measure R in November.


Here is a March 2014 study from the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment called “Local Minimum Wage Laws, Impacts on Workers, Families and Business” by Ken Jacobs and Annette Burnhart at UC Berkeley.


It’s all good news when you raise the minimum wage!


1   [New Mexicans for Free Enterprise v. City of Santa Fe, No. D-0101-CV-2003-468 (N.M. 1st Jud. Dist., June 24, 2004) upholds the power of New Mexico cities to enact minimum wage laws; Baltimore v. Sitnick, 255 A.2d 376 (Md. 1969) upholds the power of Maryland cities to enact minimum wage laws.

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