This is what it looks like when you're testifying at a City Council
Hearing. The City Councilpersons and Mayor are seated behind a semicircular
dais. Persons who testify on behalf of some issue stand before the
Council at a podium.
City Councilman Dave Jones is the sponsor of the Living Wage Ordinance
on the City Council. Opponents to the measure include city manager
Mike Medina, who cited a study commissioned by the City Council
to claim that the Living Wage Ordinance would be too costly for
the City. A spokesperson for the (Economic Research Associates)
study summarized it for the Council and responded to questions.
Councilman Jones' pointed inquiries questioned the study's methodology.
Should a study on the economic effects of a living wage be based
on outdated Federal poverty guidelines or would it be more reliable
to base the study on the actual cost of food, rent, etc., in Sacramento?
Can a family of 3 live in Sacramento on wages of $8.60/hour (Fed
poverty guideline) or is the Living Wage guideline of $10.00/hour
(with health benefits) for a family of 4 more in line with Sacramento's
More than 20 persons from various organizations stood up to speak
in behalf of the Living Wage ordinance. These included John Borsos
(SEIU Local 250/Sacramento Living Wage Coalition), Chris Jones (ACORN),
Carol Zabin (Center for Labor Research and Education, UCBerkeley),
Deana Carrillo (CA Budget Project), Rabbi Reuven Taff , and Tim
Frank of the Sierra Club.
Opponents of the Living Wage, (Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce,
etc.) then had their opportunity to speak, nearly all advocating
greater use of government subsidies such as earned income tax credit
rather than requiring businesses contracting with the city to pay
a living wage. They recommended "direct connect" a term
denoting connecting the working poor with various social services
as opposed to paying them a wage they could live on without government
subsidies. However, as Councilman Jones pointed out, given the present
State budget deficit, what confidence do we have that the referred
to government-sponsored social services will continue?
The persons pictured here testifying work (or worked) for businesses
that contract with the city. If the Living Wage Ordinance passed,
these businesses would have to pay a living wage. They would have
to refrain from the anti-union activity that resulted in the termination
of the former recyling company employee pictured on the far right.
Union busting should not be subsidized by taxpayers!