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City, community work to iron out minimum wage ordinance

 
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A small gathering of people from the business, labor and public health communities met with city staff Aug. 22 to talk through the logistics of how a minimum wage ordinance might work in Menlo Park.

As currently drafted, an ordinance, if passed by Oct. 10, could result in a citywide minimum wage of $15 an hour that would take effect by Jan. 1, 2020. It could also rise in accordance with the Consumer Price Index in the future.

It's tentatively scheduled for possible adoption at the City Council's Sept. 10 meeting.

A few questions came up:

What about tipped employees?

According to Menlo Park's Assistant City Attorney Cara Silver, under state law, cities cannot regulate the tips employees receive. In other cities where minimum wage ordinances have passed, restaurants and other industries that rely on tips have added minimum wage surcharges instead.

What about independent contractors?

According to Nick Pegueros, assistant city manager, the ordinance would apply to wage earners paid by employers in Menlo Park and specifically to incorporated Menlo Park. As a result, the regulation wouldn't apply to unincorporated San Mateo County businesses such as those on Alameda de las Pulgas in West Menlo Park.

What about minors who work?

Dexter Chow, owner of Cheeky Monkey Toys, said that his business employs high school students, and if a minimum wage ordinance passes, the business could be required to jump from a minimum wage of $11 an hour to $15.

"It's a big jump," he said.

Wage pressure could also be combined with tariffs on toys from China come December. Tariffs are anticipated to affect the "vast majority of products" at the store, and staying price-competitive with national and online retailers that don't have minimum wage pressures could put the business at a disadvantage, he argued.

Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Fran Dehn said she's spoken with local business owners who say they'd like to pay $15 an hour but can't afford to do that, and say they may end up cutting back employee hours.

According to data from the San Mateo County Health System, while there are some minors in low-wage jobs, about 95% of low-wage workers in the county are in the middle years of their careers, between the ages of 18 and 64, and nearly 45% are raising children.

With a $15 minimum wage, or earnings of about $31,200 a year, it would take about 1.7 full incomes to pay for the average rent of $4,368 at a large apartment building in the city.

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Comments

2 people like this
Posted by MP res
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 27, 2019 at 12:54 pm

The last paragraph of the story makes no sense and is an illogical and misleading argument. A minimum wage employee is very unlikely to be looking at a median priced apartment in Menlo Park, so why even include that as an argument. It makes as much sense as saying that , a $15 an hour wage earner who looks at a median priced Mercedes at $47,000 would have to work 1.5 jobs to afford a median priced Benz. Yes, factual. But, no, a$15 an hour person is not going to be buying a Benz any time soon. What is your point?


7 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 27, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Very depressing. Clearly Menlo Park does not care about teenagers, the disabled, or the low skilled.


9 people like this
Posted by CAyo
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 27, 2019 at 5:29 pm

Once again, the point is being made that even if one makes 15 an hour they can't afford to live anywhere around here. What does that say to all our service workers young and older?


9 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 27, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Minimum wage was never meant to be a "living wage". It's an entry level wage for unskilled workers.

Most young people making minimum wage around here are not trying to support themselves. They usually are living with mom and dad. It's a starter job and good work experience for them. If they are even working. Most of them are in AP classes and being tutored, so they don't work. They're expected to go to Stanford or Cal or Ucla, etc.

I worked for minimum wage through college and supported myself. Had roommates and everything else. Sorry. No one is entitled to a specific wage. It wasn't any more expensive to live here in the 70's and 80's when minimum wage was $3.25/hr. We just didn't feel entitled to have our own apartment with no roommates or have any expectation that someone should provide a lifestyle for us. We did what we had to do.

It wasn't easy most times. In fact, most times it sucked, but we did what we had to do. You think landlords weren't maximizing their incomes back then? Think again. We had roommates. We ate crappy food. We scraped along as best we could. That's what we did. No expectations that someone should bail us out. Life is hard. The hard live. The weak don't.


3 people like this
Posted by Mack Relle
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 27, 2019 at 10:58 pm

It’s simple. Minimum wages go up. The number of jobs goes down. The Cheeky Monkey example is a good one. Students looking to gain real world experience or unskilled workers trying to help their families get by will lose the opportunity. It’s the unintended adverse impact of actions taken by well-intentioned people.


3 people like this
Posted by FDR: no company shall pay less than living wages to its workers
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 28, 2019 at 9:18 am

> The Cheeky Monkey example is a good one.

Hah. Yeah. High rents, big box stores, Amazon, declining retail sales, etc.. had nothing to do with it. It's all the minimum wage.

-----------------

> Minimum wage was never meant to be a "living wage".

Source? FDR himself said that? Really? I missed the newspaper that day. All I remember is FDR saying:

“no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

Sounds to me like, hmmmmmmmm, uhhhhh, A LIVING WAGE, and thus, we now know the poster is making stuff up just to attack American wage earners.

The posters that rail against any minimum wage are the same ones that still think the New Deal is going to lead to communism in America. Why do they hate American working families so much?



3 people like this
Posted by FDR: no company shall pay less than living wages to its workers
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 28, 2019 at 9:24 am

Link to FDR:

"It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By "business" I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living."

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 28, 2019 at 10:17 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

FDR:

has it occurred to you that as minimum wages have been driven up we've seen more and more self serve type check outs at stores? Safeway, Home Depot, kiosks at McDonalds, etc. As wages go up businesses look for ways to cut costs and it usually involves finding ways to cut their labor force.

From the linked Forbes article: "The authors of the new study—Paul Beaudry, David Green, and Ben Sand—create a framework to account for the effect an increase in the supply of labor can have on the demand for labor in order to isolate the effect of wages on employment. They find that increases in wages have a negative effect on employment over 10-year intervals."

Web Link

And from this Forbes article: "A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, entitled “The Effects on Employment and Family Income of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage,” was conducted to determine how increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10, $12 or $15 per hour by 2025 would affect employment and family income. The conclusion was that increasing the federal minimum wage would have two major impacts on low-wage workers: earnings would increase for many, which would lift some families out of poverty. However, other low-wage workers would become jobless, their family income would drop and it could place them below the poverty threshold. "

Web Link

Nah. Raising minimum wages has no effect on businesses. It's rents, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by FDR: no company shall pay less than living wages to its workers
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 28, 2019 at 10:58 am

Minimum wage is not driving self-service kiosks. They're showing up in low wage states also. Look at the gas station transition to self-pump in the 80's.

re: your link to the Koch-sponsored writer, even he says: "These results don’t necessarily mean minimum wage increases are bad policy."

Once you get away from the Koch libertarians, other studies show the real world: “the states where the minimum wage went up had faster employment growth than the states where the minimum wage remained at its 2013 level.”

Goldman pointed that out in this study Web Link

Your last link is by a recruiter with such anecdotal nuggets as: "With the best of intentions, the $15 hourly wage can lull people into staying at a role for far too long. My nephew, Matthew, skipped college, as he enjoyed the cash from working at a local deli."

We all know a Matthew - using him as a poster-boy for refusing to help the rest of low-wage working Americans is ridiculous, along with his "lull'd" people happily making $15 for "too long".

But nice to know that every business feels that local rents are just about right!


Like this comment
Posted by What SF Do
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Aug 28, 2019 at 12:06 pm

San Francisco enforces a separate line item tax for employee healthcare and benefits.
Not clear is how those fees paid by consumers actually results in healthcare.

See it all the time at SF Airport concessions.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 28, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

FDR:

The Congressional Budget Office is "Koch funded"? Wa???

"A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, entitled “The Effects on Employment and Family Income of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage,” was conducted to determine how increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10, $12 or $15 per hour by 2025 would affect employment and family income. The conclusion was that increasing the federal minimum wage would have two major impacts on low-wage workers: earnings would increase for many, which would lift some families out of poverty. However, other low-wage workers would become jobless, their family income would drop and it could place them below the poverty threshold. "


Like this comment
Posted by FDR: no company shall pay less than living wages to its workers
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 28, 2019 at 3:33 pm

> The Congressional Budget Office is "Koch funded"? Wa???

Read further - your first link was an op-ed by...
"I am Senior Fellow, Economic Opportunity at the Charles Koch Institute."

So yeah: wa???

-----------------

re: your 2nd link, read the report itself, not the op-ed.

"In addition, in an average week in 2025, the $15 option would increase the wages of 17 million workers whose wages would otherwise be below $15 per hour, CBO estimates. The wages of many of the 10 million workers whose wages would be slightly above the new federal minimum would also increase."

27 million workers would benefit, with the possibility of 1.3m jobs not being created in 2025.

27 million building our economy vs 1 million maybes.

Thanks for the links to the op-eds.


12 people like this
Posted by CAyo
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 28, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Menlo Voter said: "I worked for minimum wage through college and supported myself. Had roommates and everything else. Sorry. No one is entitled to a specific wage. It wasn't any more expensive to live here in the 70's and 80's when minimum wage was $3.25/hr. We just didn't feel entitled to have our own apartment with no roommates or have any expectation that someone should provide a lifestyle for us. We did what we had to do.

It wasn't easy most times. In fact, most times it sucked, but we did what we had to do. You think landlords weren't maximizing their incomes back then? Think again. We had roommates. We ate crappy food. We scraped along as best we could. That's what we did. No expectations that someone should bail us out. Life is hard. The hard live. The weak don't."
I did that too in the 70's and 80's, at 3.25 an hour and my apartment was $300 a month. I didn't expect any handouts or help, just a living wage. Now if one gets 15 an hour with rents at 3000 to 5000 a month for that same apartment (yes, I checked) there is no way I can stretch that dollar, which has lost it's power. I still watch every penny and eat crappy food. I don't feel entitled. I'm not weak. I've worked my butt off since age 17. Next step: under the bridge?


Like this comment
Posted by Trump's NAFTA deal
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Aug 28, 2019 at 9:02 pm

Trump's reworked NAFTA made 3 minor changes: sell some yogurt to Canada, raise drug prices, and raise the minimum wage in Mexico.

if raising the minimum wage is good enough for Trump and Mexicans, then we need to raise it here.


1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 28, 2019 at 10:01 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

CAyo:

Why are you still working for minimum wage?


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 29, 2019 at 2:14 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

FDR? How about LBJ "No one should be paid below average wages" or something to that effect.

What do you tell little miss priss who tells an employer she will work for pennies just to prove her worth? Sorry missy, the gum'nt says I can't do that.

Why not let the market decide. Leave charity to individuals.

If individuals can earn a living wage, fine. If not, they will naturally form a collective for their common good. Government interferes with a natural continuum. Each step up the ladder should require a reasonable effort. Government, as we know it, bastardizes that continuum.


4 people like this
Posted by CAyo
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 29, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Menlo Voter: I'm in the service industry, caregiving. It's not a high paying field, just a rewarding caring one. I didn't have college opportunities, only certification courses. Many thousands of us are in this same boat.


2 people like this
Posted by Connor
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 30, 2019 at 8:35 am

The people saying that the minimum wage is just for kids and entry level jobs really need to get their minds out of 1950. So many careers today are now based largely on minimum wage. I won’t debate why, but that’s just way our economy has developed. If you want to say that you don’t care that a good swath of our local economy doesn’t deserve a living wage then that’s your opinion. I hope you still feel that way when you have to go to a nursing home or need long term care.


Like this comment
Posted by Bert Paks
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Aug 30, 2019 at 4:18 pm

"if raising the minimum wage is good enough for Trump and Mexicans, then we need to raise it here."

Trump forced a min wage hike for Mexico?

How magnanimous.


2 people like this
Posted by Unlivable.
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 2, 2019 at 10:59 pm

Two people earning the minimum wage should be able to rent an apartment within a reasonable commute ~30-45 minutes. At $15 per hour full time, two people would gross about 5000 per month which would leave about $1680 per month for rent. You certainly can't find a rental on the peninsula for that amount! There are local rooms for rent for about $1000-1500 per person.

At $10 per hour, a single person might have $550 for rent, and 2 sharing a room or apt might be able to swing 1100 per month. There's very little within an hour's commute at that range. It's just unlivable.

If teenagers under 18 have a lower minimum wage than adults, I think that would be a reasonable compromise, but adults absolutely need $15 minimum per hour just to survive, never mind raising a family.


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