San Jose State Students Kick Off Drive To Raise City’s Minimum Wage

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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – A group of San Jose State University students started collecting signatures Thursday to put an initiative on the November ballot that would raise San Jose’s minimum wage from $8 to $10 per hour.

Surrounding states all pay more than $8 an hour, said organizer Leila McCabe.

“You have Oregon at $8.80. You have Nevada at $8.25. Washington is at $9.04 and they’re all indexed to the cost of living as well,” she said.

KCBS’ Mike Cogan Reports:

McCabe and other students said the high cost of living in Silicon Valley made it difficult for low-income families to pay for basic necessities.

Small businesses have warned that consumers will see higher prices if voters approve the increase. Restaurants in particular said they cannot afford to raise wages because of the sluggish economy.

Chuck Hammers, owner of Pizza My Heart, said the cost of labor was already the largest expense at most restaurants.

“We’ve got almost 400 employees, so a bump of two dollars is really going to go straight to the price of the pizza,” he said.

“We pay our employees more than minimum already, but it puts upward pressure.”

The students have until May to collect 19,166 valid signatures.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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