June 30th, 2022
Susan Kikuchi (English)
Sophia Cheng (Chinese)
San Francisco Workers Celebrate Minimum Wage Increase to $16.99; Highlights the Need for Implementation
San Francisco – Today the Workers Rights Community Collaborative (WRCC), a multiracial coalition of working people rallied at 24th and Mission to mark the city’s minimum wage raise on July 1st. Workers from the domestic work, restaurant, day laborer, hospitality, caregiving and other service sectors spoke about the importance of wage increases at a time of record inflation, as well as the importance of implementation of workers’ rights.
On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $16.99, up from $16.32 in accordance with the Consumer Price Index. This comes during an ongoing pandemic and record inflation, all while workers are still attempting to recover economically from job losses and unemployment in the past three years. In 2020, many of the WRCC’s member organizations participated in the Bay Area Essential Workers Agenda Coalition, which surveyed 1400 workers in low-wage industries about their experience in the pandemic. Over half of those surveyed couldn’t exercise a basic workplace right like paid sick leave, and more than a quarter would not report a violation by their employer. This highlights the ongoing need for meaningful implementation of minimum wage and other workers’ rights and benefits.
“San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Still, there are businesses that are paying their workers under the minimum wage. In my former job, I was paid under the minimum wage. I went 5 weeks without receiving pay. We are still negotiating with our former employer. There are other workers who may be going through wage theft, which is why it is important that the city ensure that bosses are following this law & that workers rights are respected,” said Eder Juarez, a restaurant worker and member of Trabajadores Unidos Workers United.
Not only does the minimum wage increase on July 1, new ordinances have passed in the last few years: the Public Health Emergency Leave gives workers at large businesses additional paid time off in case of public emergency, while changes to the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance mean that people who work and have caregiving responsibilities are entitled to a flexible work schedule, and their boss must respond to those requests in a timely manner.
With the passage of these new laws, city officials must ensure that people of color, immigrants, those who work in low-wage sectors, including informal work, the gig economy, and high violation industries are able to exercise the same rights as their highly paid counterparts in the city of San Francisco. In order to ensure that workers actually get to benefit from these laws passed in their favor, the city must adequately fund enforcement of these laws, as well as outreach and education to ensure workers understand their rights and are empowered to exercise them. The WRCC is pleased to announce that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors included an additional $400,000 per year for outreach and education in the add-back process, and calls for increased resources for enforcement by providing additional staffing positions to the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE).
“Every day, we’re meeting with low-income immigrant workers who are pushing for fair, safe workplaces and organizing together for jobs that uphold their dignity — all of this in spite of long-standing underinvestment and divestment in their communities,” said Palyn Hung, workers’ rights attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. “When elected officials and public agencies have workers’ backs, we see the results. In the past few years, for example, Asian and Latinx workers throughout the Bay Area have won back at least $10.5 million in wages and overtime that were never paid before, better schedules, paid sick leave, and the end to discrimination, no matter where they were born or what language they prefer.”
Violations of minimum wage, paid sick leave, and other basic benefits continue to be an issue for workers in low wage industries. In order for San Francisco to continue its leadership in progressive labor policies, it must ensure those policies benefit the workers with the least protections. As a next step, the WRCC calls for a multi-agency report and hearing in the City of San Francisco to better understand the role of city government in enforcing the rights of workers, particularly the lowest paid ones.
Additional quotes from workers available upon request
About the WRCC:
The Workers Rights Community Collaborative (WRCC) is contracted through the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) to conduct outreach and education to workers about their rights. The WRCC consists of:
Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Chinese Progressive Association
Dolores Street Community Services
Filipino Community Center
La Raza Centro Legal
South of Market Community Action
Trabajadores Unidos Workers United