Emeryville now has the highest minimum wage in the country

Published 4:02 pm PDT, Thursday, July 25, 2019

Trying to make ends meet on minimum wage? Emeryville might be your best shot. Starting this month, all workers in this East Bay city will be making at least $16.30 an hour.

Previously, the city council had made restaurants with fewer than 55 employees exempt from the minimum wage increase from $15 to $16.30 on July 1. However, after union-led efforts, the council overturned this ordinance on Tuesday.

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Some small business owners are worried the increase will hurt them financially, and even force them to lay off employees.

“We by no means want to make any rash decisions, but we now have to evaluate what the minimum wage increase will do to our financial situation, as all businesses in Emeryville will be doing,” Doug Smith, co-owner of Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, told the East Bay Times.

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But Emeryville isn’t alone in its efforts to raise the minimum wage. Neighboring cities Berkeley and San Francisco raised their minimum wage to $15.59/hour on July 1. It’s also a nationwide trend: The House of Representatives recently voted to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2025, although it is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

Even with these increases, however, many still won’t be able to afford to live in the Bay Area. According to Zillow, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Emeryville is $2,659, which $16.30/hour doesn’t exactly cover.

Madeline Wells is an SFGate editorial assistant. Email: madeline.wells@sfgate.com | Twitter: @madwells22

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Emeryville-highest-minimum-wage-in-country-14150625.php.

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