WAGE ORDINANCE APPROVED BY CITY COUNCIL!
historic event occurred in Sacramento on September 30th, 2003, when
after 2.5 years of effort by a coalition of Labor and other activist
groups, the City Council voted to send a Living Wage Ordinance to
city attorneys to prepare for a January 2004 enactment. As Sacramento
Mayor Heather Fargo said " It fits the city and it fits our
time. It is compassionate and respectful of both residents and business."
The Living Wage Ordinance requires that businesses with more than
25 employees and contracts, loans or subsidies from the city totaling
>$100,000 must pay workers $9/hour with health benefits or $12.84/hour
without. The wage will rise to $10/hour by 2007, or higher, depending
on what the cost of living is by then.
"Nobody's going to get rich here, but it's a good start,"
Chris Jones of ACORN said. Nonprofit corporations with <100 workers,
contractors providing professional or emergency services, student
interns, and seasonal employees are exempt from the ordinance.
100 organizations joined together as the Living Wage Coalition 2.5
years ago with the goal of making Sacramento a Living Wage City.
The Central Labor Council, labor unions, ACORN, the Gray Panthers,
and many religious, civil rights, and social justice groups worked
with City Councilmembers Dave Jones and Lauren Hammond to make this
The six "YES" voting members of the City Council thanked
the Living Wage Coalition for its work in bringing the issue to
the City Council, singling out SEIU Local 250 VP John Borsos, labor
activists Ruth Holbrook and Danette Janick, ACORN board chairman
Chris Jones, and CSUS professor emeritus Manny Gale for their efforts
in representing the interests of Labor and the working poor on this
of Living Wage waiting in the City Council chambers for the ordinance
to come to a vote.
The Living Wage movement started in Baltimore in 1994 and there
are now more than 100 Living Wage cities in the U.S. The idea behind
it is that people who work on city-paid projects should receive
wages they can live on without having to rely on welfare to make
ends meet. The city can't change the minimum wage (the feds and
state do that), but by raising the wages required of employers who
meet the criteria of the Living Wage Ordinance, it can raise the
standard in the community.
The glaring alternative to paying a living wage is an employer
like Wal-Mart, where one of the "benefits" offered is
instruction in how to get food stamps and other forms of public
idea behind the Living Wage is simple: Make work pay. We value work
in our society, but there are too many people who work hard and play
by the rules and yet do not make enough in wages to cover the cost
of food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare " City Councilmember
and Living Wage Ordinance co-sponsor Dave Jones.