San Francisco To Vote On $15 Minimum Wage

06/11/2014 10:41 am ET | Updated Jun 11, 2014
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Voters in San Francisco will have the opportunity to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour this November on the heels of Seattle's city council making a similar hike earlier this month.

On Tuesday, city officials reached a deal on a ballot measure that would gradually increase the hourly wage over a three-year period, reaching a $15 wage by 2018. Labor activists initially pushed for the minimum wage to reach $15 by 2017, but agreed to the longer timeline during Tuesday's compromise with business representatives and city leadership.

The measure will appear on November's general election ballot.

Announcing the proposal Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) said the city's current $10.74 minimum wage "doesn't cut it."

"Someone who puts in a hard day's work deserves a respectable wage," he said.

Thanks in part to the latest Silicon Valley tech boom, San Francisco is currently plagued by rampant income inequality. A study released last month found the city's wealth disparity to be on par with developing nations. And a Brooking Institution report published in February found that the gap between San Francisco's wealthiest and poorest residents is growing faster than in any other city in the country.

Backers of the minimum wage hike hope that the raised wage will help keep workers and their families in the city, where rent and evictions are steadily on the rise.

"When the average one-bedroom apartment rents for $2,775 in the city of San Francisco, working families cannot afford to survive here," Campaign for a Fair Economy organizer Shaw San Lieu told KTVU.

"We have been seeing a widening income gap between our lowest-paid workers and our highest-paid workers," city supervisor Jane Kim, who helped broker the deal, said Tuesday. "In times of economic prosperity, no one should be left behind."

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