Fil-Am minimum wage earners react to the state’s minimum wage increase

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
July 7, 2014

DALY CITY, Calif. – California’s minimum wage increased to eight to nine dollars an hour recently. This is the first increase since 2008.

The minimum wage will be raised again to ten dollars an hour on January 1, 2016 under AB 10, a law Governor Jerry Brown signed last fall.

Governor Brown said it was his moral obligation to bring a living wage to a state with the highest cost of living.

According to a survey recently released by the California Field Poll, 48% of Californians said the increases in minimum wage is not enough and should be raised further while 37% said the increases are adequate.

Some Filipinos workers in the Bay Area are welcoming the pay increase. Twenty-one year old Angelo Magat works at a shoe store. He said he appreciates the increase but reasoned that it’s simply not enough.

“But it’s a good change for now,” he stated.

22-year old Marlene Anicete works for a chain of coffee houses.

She said, “I’m thankful. It’s definitely going to help me a lot because I have bills to pay — car payments, rent, cellphone, etc.”

But with the new pay increase, some Pinoy business owners who hire minimum wage workers fear they would have to increase the prices of their services and goods to survive. Worse, they said, it could end up driving customers away.

Tony Lim is the owner of Ling Nam Noodle House, which has been around for 24 years. He said it could become difficult for business owners, who would just have to adjust how they do business.

He said, “It’s tough for us because rent prices keep going up. So if we have to pay higher wages, how can we keep up?”

You may contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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