An initiative to raise low-wage workers’ income in California qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot.
The Fair Wage Act of 2016 calls for gradually increasing minimum wage to $15 by 2021. Under the plan, California’s minimum wage will increase to $11 in 2017, and then moving up a dollar a year until it reaches $15 in 2021.
Once the minimum wage reaches $15, it will automatically be adjusted each year to keep pace with the cost of living. Currently, California’s minimum wage is $10 an hour, which amounts to less than $21,000 a year for a full-time worker.
The ballot initiative will improve the lives of millions, benefitting 3.3 million men and women in California.
If approved by voters, California would become the largest state to improve the standard of living for low-wage workers, SEIU-UHW said in a statement. SEIU-UHW is a union of hospital workers in the western United States, with more than 80,000 members.
“California has often been the incubator of ideas and policies that spread across the country – this initiative fits that mold and will make our state the leader in the fight against income inequality,” California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stated.
The California Secretary of State’s office confirmed that the minimum wage initiative has been placed on the ballot, as it received the necessary 402,468 signatures.
The initiative has been endorsed by 300 community organizations, labor unions, faith leaders, small business owners and elected officials, including U.S. Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) and Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro), California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Controller Betty Yee, 28 state legislators and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who serve as co-chairs of the initiative campaign.
According to a Field Poll from last year, 68% of registered California voters support the initiative.