Amendments to living wage law go into effect
By Caitlin Cassady
October 2, 2007
San Francisco Living Wage Coalition Co-director Robert Bustamonte
stood on the steps of City Hall in the autumn sunshine yesterday
and declared, "it's time for a living wage!''
Yesterday marked the day that amendments to the Minimum Compensation
Ordinance go into effect, Bustamonte said. The amendments, which
increase wages for non-profit workers, home health care aides,
and workers in welfare-to-work programs, were passed by the board
of supervisors on Sept. 11 and signed into law by Mayor Gavin
Newsom on Sept. 14.
Supervisor Tom Ammiano, whose office sponsored the amendments,
said he was "happy to announce this very, very important
first step,'' in the fight for reasonable wages for workers.
"There should never have to be a choice between paying your
rent and paying for a prescription for a sick child,'' Ammiano
The increase will affect 15,000 workers living in the city of
San Francisco who earn wages that cannot support their basic needs.
Jane Morrison, who works with the San Francisco Democratic Party
said it is irresponsible that people who "work full time
do not have enough money for food, housing and healthcare.''
Morrison added that the city should continue to raise the living
wage so that people who are helping others can support their own
Not only will wages increase now for non-profit workers, but
the annual cost-of-living will be adjusted in conjunction with
the consumer price index, Bustamonte said. This will ensure that
workers are never again left behind, he added.
The minimum wage for home health care workers rose to $11.50
with the amendments that went into effect yesterday. The minimum
wage was previously $9, which is lower than other city workers,
Karl Kramer, co-director of the Living Wage Coalition, emphasized
the impact that higher wages will have in "reducing turn
over in non-profit agencies.'' He said that workers who retain
their positions longer are more competent and therefore more likely
to improve the quality of their care and services.
The minimum wage ordinance covers workers for businesses or non-profit
agencies that contract with the city, and those who work at San
Francisco International Airport.