Your guide to Proposition 32: an $18 hourly minimum wage for all Californians

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(Los Angeles Times)
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Proposition 32 will ask California voters if the statewide minimum wage should be increased to $18 an hour.

The current minimum wage in California is $16 an hour and adjusts for inflation.

The new proposal would increase pay at different times depending on how many employees a company has, with all workers in the state set to make $18 an hour by 2026.

It comes amid several other changes to minimum-wage laws in the state. Unions last year secured $25 an hour for healthcare workers and $20 an hour for fast-food workers. Several cities including West Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco have moved ahead of the state minimum and already pay more than $18 an hour.



Why is this on the ballot?

The statewide minimum wage has not been changed in nearly a decade. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in 2016 to boost it to $15 an hour and to automatically adjust it for inflation.

While California’s minimum wage is among the highest in the country and more than twice as much as the federal requirement, many workers are still struggling with a skyrocketing cost of living. The current minimum wage pencils out to about $33,000 a year, and the average cost of living is about $53,082 a year, according to recent federal data.

The measure is led by Joe Sanberg, a wealthy Los Angeles investor and anti-poverty activist.

“This measure passing will mean three meals per day instead of two meals per day,” Sanberg said. “Or the ability to pay for important healthcare, rent or clothes. Every dollar matters.”


How much money has been raised?


Who would get a raise?

An estimated 2 million Californians would benefit from the wage increase, according to the campaign.


Workers at some restaurants, grocery stores and retail shops, as well as some school staff and child-care providers, are among those making the lowest wages in California.


Who are the opponents?

It’s complicated. The measure has not enjoyed the full-throated support of the state’s politically powerful worker unions as closed-door deliberations play out about the best strategy for raising wages: an industry-specific piecemeal approach or a blanket minimum for everyone.

Anti-poverty groups including One Fair Wage asked Sanberg to withdraw the proposal from the ballot, fearful that it would hurt future endeavors.

“It should be clear that every working Californian needs to make at least $20 an hour to survive. This should be the floor,” several organizations wrote to Sanberg in a letter in May. “We recognize that while $18 is a step forward, $20 has become the new standard.”

The California Republican Party and business organizations officially oppose the measure, saying that wages are not something the state should determine and that it will burden companies and force them to close.


Past coverage

California worker advocates are calling for a statewide minimum wage of $20 after the food and healthcare sectors saw salary bumps.

May 9, 2024


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