The California legislature approved an increase in the minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour late last week. The hike will be phased in over the next three years adding $1 in 2014 and another in 2016, according to Raw Story.
While the Economic Policy Institute estimates that the wage increase will affect more than 2.3 million California workers, groups like the California Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill, calling it a “job killer” that will drive up business costs “worse than any predicted rate of inflation increase.”
Gov. Jerry Brown called the bill, passed largely along partisan lines, an overdue measure that would help working-class families. He is expected to sign it, according to ABC News.
“It means that single moms will have a little extra to support their families,” Steve Smith, communications director of the California Labor Federation, said on the AFL-CIO website. “It means seniors who’ve been forced to re-enter the workforce will have a little more to help pay for prescription drugs. And it means that all low-wage workers have received validation that their work is worthy of dignity and respect.”
The California Restaurant Association called the measure a “blow to small businesses” saying it was a reaction to fast-food demonstrations that occurred across the country last month.
“Brown suddenly became aggressively interested in addressing minimum wage with labor unions in an attempt to avoid their threat of putting the issue on the ballot in 2014,” the association said on its website.
“This is a classic example with how out-of-touch state leaders are,” said state Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. Republican lawmakers opposed the bill, saying it would hurt business and cut jobs.