San Francisco Pushes New York City Council on Living Wage

Today Erin Einhorn reported that Council Speaker Christine Quinn has agreed to hold hearings on a living wage bill pushed the last several years by unions and activists.

The bill would require that employers who lease space in city-funded projects pay at least $10 per hour to all workers employed there. The Bloomberg administration fears that the plan would slow development in the city, but backers are pointing to cities where they say the experiment has succeeded: San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Ken Jacobs, the chair of the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center recently conducted a study about San Francisco’s experience with living wage, and he found that:

The verdict is clear: labor standards policies of the kind San Francisco put in place improve workers’ income, productivity and health, reduce turnover and decrease job vacancies; they have not reduced the number of jobs.

This is good news indeed for the workers and businesses in cities, such as New York, that are considering new living wage policies on economic development programs. San Francisco may be unique in the breadth of protections we provide our workers, but we are not special in our need to improve labor standards.

And The Observer has obtained a letter by David Campos, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, that pushes his transcontinental colleagues to follow their lead.

“Dear Council Members,” Supervisor Campos writes. “I am writing to encourage your support for the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act. San Francisco has a long history of similar labor standards legislation. I hope you will consider our experience as you make your decision.”

Full letter below:

Letter_to_NYC_Council_Members_regarding_living_wage San Francisco Pushes New York City Council on Living Wage