OAKLAND (KCBS) — A Congressman from the East Bay co-introduced legislation in Washington on Tuesday that calls for increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Rep. George Miller, a Democrat from Martinez, made the announcement that his legislation would be a gradual increase wage from its current $7.25.
The move comes just three weeks after President Barack Obama highlighted increasing the minimum wage in his State of the Union address.
“It’s time for our workers to get a raise. It’s time to grow our economy from the bottom up,” Miller said.
The City of San Francisco’s minimum wage is already the highest in the nation at $10.55 an hour. By comparison, San Jose’s minimum wage goes up to $10 an hour next Monday.
Miller said today, 40 percent of Americans make less than the minimum wage was worth in 1968. He said that is “immoral” and “economically dangerous.”
Mike Casey, president of the San Francisco Labor Council said it would level the playing field locally and would be the best investment in the economy.
“Because low-income, middle class, working-class workers pour almost the entire thing back into the economy,” he said.
Still UC Irvine Economist David Neumark said it’s important to consider the costs involved since employers make adjustments when prices go up.
“They might go with somewhat fewer, higher-skilled workers. Over the long term they might go with more capital machinery instead of labor. They might have one fewer cashier and leave us all waiting a little bit longer in the line,” Neumark said.
The last increase in the federal minimum wage was in 2009, when a bill signed by former President George W. Bush took effect.
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