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Berkeley Disapproves $19 Minimum Wage In Proposal Of $15

Nov 14, 2015 01:57 AM EST

Following quite a while of expectation, the City Council of Berkeley, California chose not to take the dive on proposed $19, the lowest pay permitted by law when it met by Tuesday evening. 

Had the Council given the approval, the $19 least would have been the highest in the United States so far.

Council members rather chose to have staff draft an ordinance according to an alternative proposal  set forth by four council members. That proposal calls for a gradual raise of $15 by 2018 for huge organizations and by 2020 for little organizations, characterized as having 55 or less full-time representatives.  It was according to Polly Armstrong, CEO of Berkeley Chamber of Commerce who was at the meeting, as reported by CNN Money.

Berkeley's present minimum wage permitted by law just reset to $11 an hour, up from $10 previously. What's more, its set to rise again to $12.53 by October 2016.  The pay trek would be slower for smaller employees: from $12.53 to $13 to $13.60 to $14.25 and finally to $15 by the year 2020.  A $15 minimum would put Berkeley's low-wage worker pay more comparable to that in the neighboring San Fransico and Emeryville.

But Armstrong says, once the ordinance is drafted, the chamber will even have a chance to roll out new improvements. Her expectation is that they will stick with $15 an hour, but may choose to change how rapidly it produces results, as reported by WMUR.

The minimum wage at its present level, "puts people in untenable positions of having to have two jobs", said Wendy Bloom, a resident, and registered nurse.  Bloom also said, "it's tough to get by, especially as people working in Berkeley have to move farther and farther from their jobs because housing is so expensive".

Entrepreneurs, however, were concerned that raising the lowest pay permitted by law by more than half could mean higher costs, fewer employment chances for entry level workers and some small organizations going tummy up.

"You will end up with a city of chain stores and restaurants instead of the mom-and-pop stores we all love", said Armstrong according to Click On Detroit.

Despite the fact that the council backed away from the $19 idea for now, Armstrong said, there's nothing preventing the gathering from returning in a couple of years to raise the compensation even more.

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