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People supporting an increase in Berkeley's minimum wage will rally on Tuesday, May 1 at 6 PM, just before the Berkeley City Council meets at 7pm to consider enacting the minimum wage proposal submitted by the Berkeley Labor Commission. Because a large turnout is expected, the Council meeting will be held at Longfellow Middle School Auditorium, 1500 Derby Street (cross street Sacramento).
The Berkeley Labor Commission proposed a minimum wage beginning at $10.74 an hour for businesses with up to 50 employees, and $13.34 for larger businesses with the minimum wage adjusted yearly for inflation. Employees would also receive a medical benefit of $2.22 an hour if health insurance is not provided. The cost to consumers would be minimal. Even if the entire cost of the wage increase is passed on to consumers, the cost of grocery shopping would increase on the average less than fifty cents a week. Recognizing that workers need a living wage, San Jose and San Francisco have already increased their minimum wages. Today, for two-thirds of the workforce, wages adjusted for inflation are lower than they were 14 years ago.
Raising the minimum wage in our cities stops the erosion in the standard of living. Berkeley recognizes the effect of inflation: landlords who own rent controlled apartments in Berkeley receive an annual cost of living adjustment. Providing a living wage would not only reduce poverty. By increasing purchasing power, it would stimulate the economy and therefore reduce unemployment. For information about the minimum wage act and those who support it, contact: Harry Brill, at 510-559-3138, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Nicky Gonzalez Yuen at 510-912-3181 or email, Nickygy@mac.com.