BERKELEY (KCBS) – A proposal to raise the minimum wage in Berkeley to $10.55 per hour will make it difficult for restaurants and small businesses to compete with large chains, small business owners said Wednesday.

Independently owned cafes and restaurants fear they could be driven out of business, or at least out of Berkeley, without an exemption for employees who earn tips.

Testimony before the Labor Commission on Wednesday turned into a heated debate about the cost of living and doing business in an East Bay town dominated by the University of California.

Low-income workers testified that the current $8.00 per hour rate was not enough to make ends meet in the Bay Area.

Supporters used a rally before the commission hearing to urge swift passage of the proposal introduced in April to increase the minimum by 30 percent.

The Labor Commission’s recommendation is expected by September, with a city council vote possible before the end of the year.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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