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Oakland City Council's $12.25 minimum wage proposal shot down
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Wednesday Jul 30th, 2014 2:55 AM
The July 29 Oakland City Council measure to raise the minimum wage to $12.25 failed, leaving it up to the voters to pass a $12.25 minimum wage increase proposal in November!
Oakland City Council's $12.25 minimum wage proposal shot down

Some nonprofit organizations speak out against the minimum wage proposal

By Lynda Carson - July 30, 2014

Oakland - Oakland's July 29th City Council $12.25 minimum wage ordinance meant to sabotage and displace the Lift Up Oakland $12.25 minimum wage proposal placed on the November ballot was shot down, due to a lack of support by some of the council members.

This gives the sweeping changes to Oakland's minimum wage laws and the changes to sick leave in the ballot initiative proposals of Lift Up Oakland, a much better chance of being passed by the voters in November. Only council members Reid, and McElhaney, voted for Kernighan's watered down version of a $12.25 minimum wage ordinance that was to be phased in.

Many residents wanted the minimum wage to increase to $15.00 an hour but, that was not in the cards once the organization called Lift Up Oakland took moved forward and pushed for a minimum wage proposal of $12.25 an hour.

The battle lines against the push to raise Oakland's minimum wage have been drawn, with some members of the local nonprofit community joining forces with small businesses and the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, against the struggle to raise the minimum wage from $9.00 per hour to $12.25 per hour by next March.

Lift Up Oakland is a coalition of union workers, community members, students, low-income workers, and some nonprofit organizations wanting to create a better life for low-income workers in Oakland.

In a listing of the ten most expensive jurisdictions in the nation to reside in, it takes a housing wage of $30.35 an hour to rent a two bedroom apartment at fair market rent in the Oakland-Fremont area in 2014, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The Oakland-Fremont area is the seventh most expensive metropolitan area in the nation to rent in, according to the NLIHC.

The haves versus the have nots, are now in a struggle to oppose a November 4, 2014 minimum wage increase initiative ballot proposal in Oakland, that will be up to the voters to decide.

The grass roots organization called Lift Up Oakland brought the initiative before the voters after turning in 33,682 signatures during February of 2014, and it was certified by the Alameda County registrar that there were enough valid signatures. The city council members of Oakland followed up with a vote on July 15, to put the proposed initiative on the November 4, 2014 election ballot.

If the proposed ballot initiative is passed by the voters the minimum wage will increase to $12.25 per hour, and will require employers to offer at least five days of sick leave to employees annually. Nine days of sick leave will be required by larger businesses. Additionally, hospitality workers will be allowed to keep all of their wages and tips, if passed.

Benefits To Oakland's Low-Wage Workers

The measure would give a raise to between 40,000 and 48,000 employees, according to Lift Up Oakland, with as many as 34,000 individuals directly affected, and as many as 14,000 others receiving indirect benefits. The low-income workers would see an average wage increase of $1.69 per hour, or $2,700 per year.

It's not nearly enough to pay the rent in Oakland for a two bedroom apartment for people trying to raise a family on $12.25 an hour, or to make car payments, and put food on the table but, it is better than a poke in the eye.

Opposition To The $12.25 Minimum Wage Proposal

On behalf of the rich and powerful corporate interests in Oakland, small businesses, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, and some nonprofit organizations operating in Oakland, City Council President Patricia Kernighan and other council members made their political move to sabotage the efforts of Lift Up Oakland, and failed in their mission.

They tried to sabotage Lift Up Oakland's initiative by coming up with their own watered down measure that would have carved out exceptions/exemptions with two tiered legislation, and by delaying the wage increases with a phased in approach.

The proposal being brought to the voters by Lift Up Oakland if passed in November, will benefit all low-income workers and their families in Oakland, and will not discriminate against some workers on behalf of corporate interests, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, small busineses, or some nonprofit organizations pleading poverty.

Nonprofit Organizations Speaking Out Against The $12.25 Minimum Wage Proposal

Numerous nonprofit organizations have gone public to protect their bottom line, and the hefty executive salaries and wage compensation that may be placed at risk if they have to raise the wages of their low-income employees, or offer better sick leave benefits to their workers.

Among those in the nonprofit sector speaking out against raising the minimum wage to $12.25 includes John Latchford, the president and ceo, of Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, according to a report in the SF Chronicle.

Latchford of Goodwill Industries is speaking out against the ballot initiative in Oakland that would raise the wages of people to $12.25 an hour. Latchford claims that his organization would have to cut back significantly on paid training hours for people in it's paid job-training program, if the wage increase occurs.

According to public records, beginning 1/1/2012 through 12/31/2012, Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, a 501(c)(3) charity organization, had gross receipts of $26,061,798. The organization's total assets for the same period were $22,127,991, including $5,681,606 in liabilities, leaving a massive fund balance of $16,446,385 for the organization. The organization appears to have plenty of money on hand despite the plea of poverty by John Latchford.

John Latchford received a whopping $311,566 in compensation during that same period, and other executives including Patricia Salmon received $207,343 in compensation, Robert Brewer received $114,546, Michael Goetz received $107,619, and Kimberly Scrafano received $104,275 in compensation.

During the same period, the organization received $902,543 in grants and contributions, received $3,318,157 in program service revenue, and made $294,088 from investment revenue income. Additionally, the organization received $19,772,705 in other revenue. The organization spent $13,715,061 in salaries, other compensation and employee benefits.

More criticism of the $12.25 per hour minimum wage proposal came from Olis Simmons who received an incredible $249,871 in compensation as the president and ceo, of Youth Uprising from 7/1/2011 through 6/30/2012, according to public records.

According to a report in the SF Chronicle, Simmons supports the wage hike of $12.25 an hour for low-income workers but, not all at once. She wants the wage hike to be phased in through a number of years, and her position is in direct opposition to the present needs of the poor who are not raking in nearly as much $250,000 a year.

The last public records available for Youth Uprising from 7/1/2011 through 6/30/2012 reveal that the organization's gross receipts were $3,813,007, and after subtracting their liabilities from their assets they still had a fund balance of $889,315.

The organization received $3,531,562 in contributions and grants during this period, including receipt of $273,328 in program service revenue, including around $8,100 in investments and other revenue. A total of $3,813,007 in revenue.

The organization spent $3,525,596 in salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits. According to their mission, Youth Uprising is a 25,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art transformation center in the heart of East Oakland, dedicated to community transformation powered by the leadership of youth.

It was also reported in the SF Chronicle that Michele Clarke of Youth Employment Partnership (YMP) is opposed to the hike of the minimum wage to $12.25 per hour, and Clarke claims that her program for 100 kids will drop to 70 kids if the minimum wage is increased to $12.25 an hour. According to public records, Michele Clarke raked in a cool $159,330 in compensation from 10/1/2011 ending 9/30/2012, from YMP.

The mission of YMP, a nonprofit organization, is to enhance the employment activities of youth by providing training, job placement, access to education, and support services, and are targeting most at-risk young people in the community living in households at or below, the federal poverty level.

According to public records, from 10/1/2011 ending 9/30/2012, YMP had gross receipts of $2,717,373. The organization received $2,565,942 in grants and contributions, $146,889 in program service revenue, and $4,541 in investment income. The organization spent $1,957,249 in salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits. After subtracting their liabilities from their assets, the organization still had a huge fund balance of $3,306,885.

In a report from the Contra Costa Times, the nonprofit organization Family Bridges in Oakland also spoke out against raising the minimum wage to $12.25 per hour for low-income workers. The mission of Family Bridges is to empower the most vulnerable, the young, the elderly, immigrants, those with health conditions, and those with limited english proficiency, especially in the Asian community to lead self-suficient independent lives.

According to public records, from 7/1/2012 ending 6/30/2013 the organization had $6,101,435 in gross receipts. The organization received $811,618 in contributions and grants, including $4,633,480 from program service revenues, and $65,347 in investment income. The organization spent $3,983,436 on salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits. After subtracting their liabilities from their assets, the organization had a huge fund balance of $6,653,780. Records reveal that during this same period Conne Jan, ceo, received $133,903 in compensation, and executives Monica Lau received $106,881 in compensation, and Teresa Mark received $88,236 in compensation.

Additionally, the movement for wage increases moved forward in San Francisco yesterday when the board of supervisors passed a measure that allows the voters in November to vote for a minimum wage increase of $15.00, to be phased in incrementally by 2018.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com