SAN FRANCISCO — Workers’ rights coalitions gathered in downtown San Francisco, surrounded by major retailers to celebrate the raising of the minimum wage to $14 an hour.
The new wage will go into effect starting this Saturday, July 1st.
Fil-Am worker advocates say the increase benefits women, working families, and workers of color.
“We do believe it will help the workers in terms… to send their children to school, afford living in San Francisco, but it’s not enough. We think it’s one good step,” said Aurora Victoria David from the Filipino Community Center. “We also think we need to fight further to actually really have a living wage in San Francisco.”
“An investment in all people in San Francisco, who live in San Francisco, and also work in San Francisco is an investment in the entire economy — not just for San Francisco but the entire Bay Area,” said Tina Shauf-Bajarn.
According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, minimum wage violations by California employers continue to take away nearly $2 billion in earnings.
These Pinays of the Filipino Community Center say they assist many kababayans who are experiencing wage theft, and they should be aware of the increase so they do not get taken advantage of.
“Even from the first stages of just sharing their stories, there’s already a fear of retaliation from their workers. So I think there is underreporting. There are workers who maybe don’t have documents… are afraid of coming out, and that’s why it’s very important for us to reach out to them.”
“We also feel there is a need for education not just for the workers to understand what their rights are, but also for business owners to understand what the rights of workers are as a part of the community.”
The final rate will be raised to $15 per hour in July 2018, and would result in a minimum salary of $31,000 per year for a full-time worker in the city.
However according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an hourly wage of more than $58 is needed to comfortably rent a two-bedroom San Francisco home.