CALIFORNIA

San Diego voters will decide on a minimum wage increase

Voters will get a chance on June 7 to decide whether the city should have a higher minimum wage than the $10 an hour required by the state.

City Council members voted Monday to place incremental minimum wage increases up to $11.50 on the June primary ballot.

The council initially approved the increases in summer 2014, but they never took effect after a referendum campaign gathered enough signatures to require a public vote.

If approved by a simple majority of voters, the proposal would make the city's minimum wage $10.50 as soon as the election results are certified, then increase to $11.50 on Jan. 1, 2017.

Two years later in January 2019, annual increases based on the consumer price index would start to be implemented.

The measure would also provide full-time workers with five paid sick days a year, and part-timers with one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

The proposal includes no exemptions for any industry or business. 

Supporters say the wage hike will help businesses by boosting the buying power of many thousands of low-wage workers. They also say it's unacceptable that full-time employees can't afford the basics in San Diego.

Opponents say raising the minimum wage will force small businesses to increase prices, lay off workers, search for greater automation and possibly shut close or leave San Diego.

Gathering signatures for the referendum in fall 2014 was an ugly process that prompted accusations of improper conduct from groups on both sides of the issue. 

Eventually, opponents submitted 56,103 signatures to the county registrar of voters, significantly more than the required 33,866 — 5% of the city's 677,310 registered voters at that time.

Before the referendum, Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed the wage increase. But council members overrode that veto by 6-3.

david.garrick@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @UTDavidGarrick

Garrick writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on February 10, 2016, in the News section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "San Diego wage vote is set" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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