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San Jose voters agree to hike city's minimum wage to $10 an hour

November 7, 2012 |  8:28 am

San Jose voters on Tuesday agreed to increase the city’s hourly minimum wage to $10 — $2 above the statewide floor, siding with proponents of the measure who said it was necessary in order for low-income workers to survive in an increasingly pricey tech-based economy.

With all precincts counted, nearly 59% of voters had approved the measure, making San Jose only the second municipality in California and the fifth in the nation to set its own minimum wage. The others are San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.

The measure was the brainchild of San Jose State University sociology students and was promptly embraced by labor organizations, which spearheaded the campaign.

"We're thrilled," Stacey Hendler Ross, spokeswoman for the South Bay AFL-CIO Council, told the San Jose Mercury News late Tuesday as the vote count wore on. "We always thought San Jose voters would know the right thing to do."

The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and other business groups had opposed the measure, saying it would force employers to slash worker hours and cut jobs, as well as discourage new businesses from moving in. The arguments were similar to those made in San Francisco, which has phased in a similar measure passed by voters in 2003. Its hourly minimum wage stands at $10.24 and will increase to $10.55 in January.

San Francisco is experiencing a jobs boom: Its unemployment rate fell to 6.9% last month, the lowest since 2008.


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