Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

From today’s New York Times:

For thousands of Californians, wages are going up.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently approved two major pay bumps: One new law, signed this month, will raise the minimum wage for all health care workers in the state to $25 an hour by 2028. The other law increases minimum hourly pay for fast-food workers to $20 an hour, starting in April.

California’s current overall minimum wage, at $15.50, already exceeds that of any other state (the District of Columbia’s is higher) and will increase to $16 on Jan. 1. Californians will vote in November 2024 on whether to push it up even more, to $18 an hour.

The bills Newsom just signed add a new twist; they’re California’s first statewide minimums for specific economic sectors, according to Enrique Lopezlira, a labor economist at the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center.

Lopezlira said that the two new laws were a testament to the growing power and popularity of organized labor nationwide. Public support for unions among Americans hasn’t been this high in Gallup polls since the 1960s. In California, that has been evident through emerging unionization efforts as well as the enormous number of strikes we’ve seen statewide, including by Kaiser Permanente employees, dockworkers and Hollywood writers and actors.

“The pandemic just really highlighted for many workers how precarious their work is,” Lopezlira told me. “Workers at all levels of the wage distribution and all levels of the industry and occupation distribution are realizing that they want better working conditions.”

Lopezlira added: “A lot of these workers were deemed essential and then treated as sort of disposable by employers, so that’s also fueling some of these efforts.”

Read the complete story here.

By Editor