OAKLAND (KCBS)— A campaign is underway to boost the minimum wage in Oakland in a proposal that would surpass San Francisco’s rate, making it the highest in the nation.
A group called Lift Up Oakland wants to increase the city’s minimum wage to $12.25 an hour and tie the rate to inflation.
San Francisco has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $10.74 plus health benefits. UC Berkeley Labor Center chair Ken Jacobs said it has made a difference.
“As a result of the minimum wage law alone, over the last 10 years, we estimate workers have received an additional $1.2 billion in their pockets,” he said.
Critics warn the increase could hurt job creation and threaten what has been strong growth in Oakland’s restaurant scene, but Jacobs said those concerns could be off the mark.
“San Francisco was able to raise wages and improve benefits without hurting jobs and without hurting the economy,” he said.
California’s minimum wage is $8.00 an hour, seventh-highest among states. President Obama has signaled his support for a Senate bill that would raise the federal minimum wage – currently at $7.25 per hour – to $10.10 an hour.
Lift Up Oakland hopes to qualify its proposal for the November ballot, but the Oakland City Council plans to discuss its own minimum wage ideas in April.