Minimum Wage Proposal Qualifies for 2014 Ballot in Oakland, Offering Hope in Fight Against Economic Inequality

Alameda County Officially Certifies Ballot Measure to Raise Oakland's Minimum Wage to $12.25 and to Provide Workers with Paid Sick Days

Up to 48,000 Oakland Workers to Get a Raise and up to 56,700 to Receive Sick Days

Today we celebrate as the petition signatures to place the Lift Up Oakland ballot measure to raise the minimum wage were certified by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. The Oakland City Council now must place the measure on the November ballot.

"Ultimately this is about human dignity," said John Jones, a security guard at Burger King who would be helped by the initiative. "I am so happy to say that over 33,000 registered voters in the City of Oakland have stood up and said enough is enough. We need more money for our people and we need it yesterday."

Lift Up Oakland submitted 33,682 signatures from Oakland voters to put its measure for a minimum wage of $12.25 and paid sick days on the upcoming ballot. The coalition called on 1000 hours of work by more than 253 volunteers and the support of 45 labor and community organizations to gather the signatures, a reflection of overwhelming community support for this minimum wage proposal.

"Income inequality in Oakland is a crisis. Workers need relief," said Lift Up Oakland spokesperson Gary Jimenez. "Our proposal will help low-wage workers make ends meet. Some business organizations are trying to push a watered-down proposal, but people need to be able to put food on the table today."

An analysis of the Lift Up Oakland measure—performed by economists from the University of California Berkeley and by policy experts from the Institute for Women's Policy Research—found strong benefits for Oakland if the measure passes.  More than one-quarter of all Oakland workers—up to 48,000 people—would directly or indirectly receive a wage increase if the measure passes, and up to 56,000 would win paid sick day protections.  The research finds that $120 million would be put in workers pockets, benefitting our local economy, and that there would be no negative impact on employment.  These provisions would especially benefit communities of color.

"A citywide minimum wage can help make the economy more equitable without harming economic growth," said Michael Reich, Director UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and one of the authors of the study. "That's more money in low-wage workers' pockets for a healthier city and a healthier economy."

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