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$15 by '19 for Silicon Valley

April 22, 2016

Silicon Valley is one of the wealthiest and most expensive places to live in California, yet we are in a crisis of low wages and underemployment.

Now is our moment to turn that around. The Sunnyvale City Council just voted Tuesday night to raise that city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018, and UC Berkeley released a report showing that a Silicon Valley regional minimum wage increase to $15 by 2019 - three years earlier than the state - would bring massive economic benefit: 250,000 workers would get a raise, putting $800 million in their pockets and boosting the Bay Area economy by $314 million every year. This afternoon, San Jose City Council is reviewing the results of this report.

Working Partnerships USA and Silicon Valley Rising are launching a call for a Silicon Valley-wide regional minimum wage — $15 by 2019.

Silicon Valley has been leading the fight for fair pay for low-wage workers. Mountain View also passed a minimum wage increase of $15 by 2018. It's time for San Jose to follow suit, as well as the six other cities whose leadership signed onto the UC Berkeley study - $15 by 2019 with annual cost of living adjustments to keep pace with inflation and no exemptions.

California passed a historic minimum wage increase to $15 by 2022 (or 2023 for small businesses), giving high cost regions like Silicon Valley the momentum we need to push for our cities to take swift action to raise wages and increase access to work hours for part-time workers.

With more than 1 in 3 workers who would get a raise is serving in a part-time job, San Jose's Opportunity to Work Initiative would increase the benefit of the wage increase by helping these workers gain more hours so their paychecks can cover the bills.

With rents and our cost of living skyrocketing out of control, we need a regional strategy to ensure good jobs - higher wages, more work hours, stable schedules, wage theft protections, adequate paid leave.

1 in 3 working households is on the brink right now. Silicon Valley can provide leadership and momentum for the national fight to ensure that people who work hard get fair pay and jobs that support their families and their futures.