Tentative Deal Reached for California's $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

By Staff Writer

Mar 27, 2016 10:38 AM EDT

A contingent agreement was projected on Saturday between legislators and labor unions that will make the state's minimum wage of $10 to $15 per hour.  This effort will create the biggest statewide minimum in the nation so far.

According to the MSN report, Sen. Mark Leno stressed that the deal has no final approval yet and the proposal will go before the Legislature being part of his minimum-wage deal that delayed last year.  He said that the deal would prevent taking the concern to the ballot. One union-back enterprise already is eligible for the ballot while a second, contending measure is trying to qualify.

"This is an issue I've been working on for many years," Leno said. "The governor and stakeholders have all been negotiating earnestly and in good faith for some time."

The senator did not ratify specifics of the deal, but most proposals will have a dollar wage increase every year until it reaches $15 per hour.  Businesses with less than 25 employees will have another year to conform.

Getting $10 an hour makes California one of the highest minimum wages in the U.S. along with Massachusetts and only Washington, DC is a 50¢ higher.  Higher minimums for government employees and state-contracted workers have been approved by some states and some cities such as Seattle have already approved the $15 per hour increase. Oregon also passed a law that will raise the state's minimum wage to almost $15 in urban areas within six years.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West spokesman Sean Wherley said that his group was included in the negotiations but they will keep on pursuing with its initiative that has already qualified for the ballot, reports Stars and Stripes.

"Ours is on the ballot. We want to be certain of what all this is," Wherley said. "We are going ahead with it. If some agreement is signed into law, then our executive board would decide what to do. They would only make that decision after any agreement is signed into law."

The union's victorious movement to collect 423,236 valid voter signatures now switches the focus to Gov. Jerry Brown together with the state lawmakers who wish to broker a ceasefire between liberal activists and organized labor on the other side, with conservative groups and business owners on the other.

Private negotiations are being discussed in Sacramento having the governor as the important player in the talks. Brown has refused resembling efforts from the time he agreed to a minimum wage deal in 2013.  However, earlier this year he seemed to debilitate his public opinion as he cited that dueling proposals could reflect on the fall ballot, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Gov. Brown and his advisers are debating over a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage would mean an additional $4 billion in California government expenditures in salaries paid initially to workers providing services to the disabled.

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