Activists Talk Minimum Wage at City Council Meeting

Fast Food Workers and Union Members Seek $15 An Hour in Sacramento

Fast food workers and union activists spoke out at a recent City Council meeting to advocate for a $15 an hour minimum wage in the city.

“There are as many as 90 other cities looking to raise the minimum wage,” said Central Labor Council Executive Director Bill Camp while speaking to the Council. “We think it’s time to take some careful consideration of what the wage ought to be for people working in this city.”

More than a dozen people turned out for the meeting, although the living wage issue was not on the agenda. Instead, activists used public comment time to voice their views. “Raising the wage to $15 is good economics,” said Ian Lee, an Our Wal-Mart member who spoke during the meeting. “Everywhere that there has been a living wage ordinance, it has meant more jobs.” Lee added that it was a personal issue to him, since as a young worker, he sees many in his age group unable to make a living under the current minimum wage. “If you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve a living wage,” he said.

Camp added that a skilled workforce is critical to the economic growth of the region, but that many minimum wage workers don’t have the time or resources to get job training.

“They can’t make enough money – they are working two jobs – to go out and get training,” he said.

Ian Arnold of SEIU 1021 also addressed the Council, adding, “Nobody who works 40 hours a week should be homeless or on public assistance.” He used school service employees, represented by SEIU 1021, as an example of how the current wages are unfair. “Those folks are making much less than $15 an hour and they just can’t make it,” he said.

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