Eight Bay Area cities are joining forces to push minimum wage reform and help combat the vast economic disparities in Silicon Valley. San Jose, Palo Alto, Campbell, Cupertino, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Monte Sereno and Santa Clara, make up the group.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, this marks the first time such a large collective has presented itself over the issue of raising wages in the region. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo recently called for a study on the impacts that raising the pay floor would have on local residents and businesses. Support from other city officials could help with raising money to fund the study, estimated to cost $100,000.
Liccardo said moving toward higher wages as a region, as opposed to as an individual city, is a more effective strategy in mitigating economic disparities. In 2012, when voters approved a minimum wage shift from $8 to $10 an hour in San Jose, the Mercury News reports, critics and supporters alike saw the “patchwork of minimum wages across the county” create only more wage disparities and confusion.
“It makes sense for the region that’s all part of the same labor market to have one minimum wage,” Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council, told the Mercury News.
Similar government vs. government tensions arose last year when the State of Illinois’ fight to raise minimum wage rivaled an initiative in Chicago that ultimately left workers in Illinois cities outside Chicago excluded from higher wages.
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.