Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Striking McDonald's restaurant employees lock arms in an intersection before being arrested, after walking off the job to demand to demand a $15 per hour wage and union rights during nationwide 'Fight for $15 Day of Disruption' protests on November 29, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

Striking McDonald's restaurant employees lock arms in an intersection before being arrested, after walking off the job to demand to demand a $15 per hour wage and union rights during nationwide 'Fight for $15 Day of Disruption' protests on November 29, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

'Big News': Over 1 Million Signatures Gathered to Put $18 Min. Wage on California Ballot

"Raising the minimum wage in the Golden State is a moral imperative," says anti-poverty activist Joe Sanberg.

Andrea Germanos

Advocates pushing to raise California's minimum wage to $18 an hour heralded a key development Thursday as they began submitting more than one million signatures to get the Living Wage Act on the November ballot, easily surpassing the roughly 623,000 required.

"We're going to set a new bar for working people all over the country."

"California Voters have been clear: people working full time should be able to afford life's basic needs," said anti-poverty activist Joe Sanberg, who filed the ballot initiative, in a statement.

The state's current minimum wage for employers, $15 an hour, was implemented just this year, though the wage drops to $14 an hour for companies with fewer than 26 employees.

Sanberg says the wage floor is clearly insufficient.

"Californians simply cannot afford to support a family on the current minimum wage—which amounts to just $32,000 a year for someone working full-time," he said. "Raising the minimum wage in the Golden State is a moral imperative."

If the Living Wage Act passes in November, it would increase the minimum wage incrementally, boosting it $1 per year until reaching $18 on January 1, 2025 for employers with 26 or more workers. Employers with fewer workers have an additional year to hit that minimum wage.

Thereafter, the minimum wage for all employees would also increase over time to keep pace with inflation and the cost of living.

Sanberg estimates that wage increase could mean an additional $6,420 per year for more than 5 million workers.

Beyond organizational backers like the California Faculty Association, Unite Here Local 11, and SEIU Local 87, the proposal appears to have strong public support.

Supporters of the ballot initiative point to a survey conducted last month of 1,200 likely voters in the state showing 76% in favor of raising the wage.

"Raising the minimum wage," said California Labor Federation executive secretary-treasurer Art Pulaski, "is one of the strongest anti-poverty measures we have as a state."

"For low-wage workers, a higher minimum wage is life-changing," he said. "Better wages for workers also means they have more to spend at local businesses in our communities. If we're serious about combating poverty and reducing inequality, raising the minimum wage is an absolute necessity."

According to Sanberg, successful passage of the initiative could reverberate nationwide.

"Not only are we going to give 6M+ California workers a raise," he tweeted Thursday, "we're going to set a new bar for working people all over the country."

 

This article has been updated to correct Sanberg's reference of the Golden, not Gold, State.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·


Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo