As every news outlet in town noted yesterday, San Francisco's minimum wage will break $10 starting January 1st, making it the country's highest. (Maybe. Depending on whether you count Santa Cruz as being part of this country.) But as the Appeal's Eve Batey points out today, the mayor was hardly aware of the wage bump, or 2003's Minimum Wage Ordinance that mandates it.
When CBS reporter Mike Sugarman asked the mayor about it yesterday, Lee responded with some boilerplate: "Wow...I want to study all that impact first and see how people feel." Which is City Hall-speak for, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Fast forward to this morning, when the Mayor's office put out a press release with the congratulatory title "Mayor Lee Announces Increase to San Francisco's Minimum Wage". That release, in full (emphasis, ours):
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced today that the City’s minimum wage will be adjusted to $10.24 per hour from $9.92 per hour, reflecting a change of 3.2 percent, effective January 1, 2012.
“This wage increase will help the City’s lowest paid workers to keep pace with inflation and also protect consumer spending of San Francisco’s working families, which will be a boost to our local economic recovery efforts,” said Mayor Lee.
The Minimum Wage Ordinance, passed by the voters in November 2003, calls for annual rate adjustments based on the previous year’s Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metropolitan area
Comparatively, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and the California minimum wage is $8.00 per hour. Employers must pay San Francisco’s higher minimum wage for all covered work performed within the City.
“Across the country, take-home pay, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in the last year. Workers in San Francisco are fortunate that our minimum wage rate is indexed to keep pace with inflation,” said Office of Labor Standards Enforcement Manager Donna Levitt.
This month, the City will be mailing updated multilingual posters announcing the new rate to 45,000 registered businesses with employees. Employers are required to post the notice in their workplace.
More information about San Francisco’s Minimum Wage Ordinance can be found at www.sfgov.org/olse/mwo or by calling the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement at (415) 554-6292.
So what do we think here, fans of spin-free local politics? Is Mayor Lee trying to nab the spotlight for an ordinance passed back in 2003, or is he just trying to give everyone the good news at the end of another tough year for the economy?