Low-Wage Workers Robbed of Wages They’ve Earned

wagetheft-coverIt’s hard enough to survive in San Mateo County on the minimum wage of $10 an hour. San Mateo is one of the most expensive county’s in the country. But it’s a crime when employers fail to pay their low-wage workers for overtime, or require employees to work “off the clock,” or fail to provide lunch breaks.

Yet thousands of low-wage workers in San Mateo County are victims of these types of “wage theft,” according to a report from Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto, CLSEPA.

CLSEPA hired Scott Hochberg in October, 2015, to handle cases of employment law violations that the legal services office was seeing. “There are so few lawyers in San Mateo County handling these cases,” says Hochberg, that it was impossible to know how wide-spread the problem was.

His report, “Raising the Minimum Wage and Fighting Wage Theft for a Healthier San Mateo County,” release June, 2016, is the first attempt to gage the problem of wage theft for low-wage workers. Read more

San Mateo Council Votes to Raise the Wage on July 18th

The San Mateo City Council is poised to adopt a $15 minimum wage ordinance, aligning the city with other high cost jurisdictions in the Bay Area. Rather than wait until 2022, when the state minimum wage will reach $15 per hour, the City Council will consider two options, both of which will benefit thousands of low-wage workers in the city.

Faith in Action activist Diana Reddy urged the City Council to address income inequality by hiking the minimum wage.

Faith in Action activist Diana Reddy urged the City Council to address income inequality by hiking the minimum wage.

At its June 6th meeting, the City Council narrowly passed the first reading of its draft minimum wage ordinance that would require large businesses — those with 55 or more employees — to pay their staff at least $15 an hour by 2018. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations would have two additional years to reach $15. An alternative proposal made by Councilmember Bonilla, that would require all businesses to pay $15 by July, 2019, failed. Read more

San Mateo City Council to Adopt $15 by 2018

Evelyn Rangel-Medina from the Restaurant Opportunities Center told City Council that workers, owners and customers all benefit when employers pay a fair wage.

Evelyn Rangel-Medina from the Restaurant Opportunities Center said workers, owners and customers all benefit when employers pay a fair wage.

At their May 2nd meeting, the San Mateo City Council directed staff to draft a local ordinance to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2018. When the city council votes on the draft ordinance in June,  San Mateo will become the first city in San Mateo County to establish a local minimum wage, and the 12th city in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Passage of legislation in April that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022 did not deter the City Council from acting. Council members agreed with community and labor advocates from the Raise the Wage Coalition that the city needed to act now due to the city’s high cost of living. City staff will present options for enforcing the ordinance in order to combat the problem of “wage theft,” which occurs when workers are not paid all that they have earned. Read more

Fight for $15 Comes to San Mateo

Press Advisory

City Council Considers Hike in Local Minimum Wage

Monday, May 2nd, 7 p.m., City Hall

Contact: Bradley Cleveland, 650.260.3151, bfcleveland@gmail.com

Members of the Raise the Wage Coalition will urge the San Mateo City Council to hike the local minimum wage to $15 by 2018, when the council takes up the issue at their May 2nd meeting. The coalition of labor and community organizations calls on the city to adopt the ordinance by the end of June, and to include paid sick days and strong enforcement language.

The coalition points out that San Mateo is one of the most expensive counties in the country, and the City of San Mateo is lagging behind other Silicon Valley cities, including Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, San Jose and Sunnyvale, that have already enacted local ordinances. Read more

Fast Food Workers Strike for $15 on April 14

McJobs-upFast food workers in 300 cities across the country will walk off the job on Thursday, April 14th, as part of the “Fight for $15” campaign. In the Bay Area, there will be demonstrations in San José, San Francisco, and Oakland.

Protest organizers say the National Day of Action will zero in on McDonald’s,

“The world’s second-largest employer and the industry leader in the fast food and service economies is driving a race to the bottom that is undercutting wages across the economy and resulting in nearly 64 million workers being paid less than $15. The workers will also highlight how McDonald’s tax avoidance around the globe hurts governments, workers, taxpayers and consumers.”

The Oakland demonstration takes place at Oscar Grant Plaza in front of City Hall, at 2 p.m.

Go to Fightfor15.org to learn more.

San Mateo County Supervisors Study Living Wage

Study Session: Tuesday, December 15th, at 9:30 a.m., 400 County Center, Redwood City


The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will consider a “living wage” policy to raise wages and establish job standards for employees of county contractors at a study session on Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

A living wage ordinance not only sets a wage floor, but incorporates provisions that promote healthy workplaces, expand access to economic opportunity, and protect workers from discrimination, intimidation or retaliation.

In addition, the Raise the Wage Coalition supports “fair scheduling” language to minimize erratic and unpredictable work schedules. When workers experience irregular work hours and schedules, families struggling to predict household income week to week, and find it difficult to provide stable care for their children, or pursue further education.

Read more

San Mateo City Council to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

Will White for United Way of the Bay Area testifies in favor of a $15 minimum wage.

Will White of the United Way of the Bay Area said experience from other Bay Area cities demonstrates that raising the minimum wage helps alleviate childhood poverty.

The San Mateo City Council directed staff to draft a minimum wage ordinance, following a discussion of the issue at their November 16th meeting. The council supported key elements the Raise the Wage Coalition proposed:

  • Minimum wage of $15 an hour, with annual increases based on the cost of living,
  • Paid sick leave, and
  • Strong enforcement language to ensure compliance.

With the concurrence of the other council members, Mayor Maureen Freschet directed the city manager to institute a city minimum wage of $15 as soon as possible in order to demonstrate that San Mateo would lead by example.

Read more

San Mateo City Council Holds Minimum Wage Study Session Nov 16,

Press Advisory

City Action Will Address Poverty and Income Inequality 

Contact  Bradley Cleveland, 510 967 1066,  bfcleveland@gmail.com

The City of San Mateo will consider a Minimum Wage Ordinance on Monday, November 16th, 7 pm, at City Hall. City Council added consideration of a city ordinance to its list of council priorities at its February 25 meeting, triggering the agenda item.

San Mateo is the first city in San Mateo County to consider a hike in the minimum wage. Voters in San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland adopted local minimum wage ordinances, and city councils have taken the initiative in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, and the east bay cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Richmond, and most recently El Cerrito.

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On Nov. 16, Tell San Mateo City Council Working Families Need a Raise

minwageProtest2Around the Bay Area, cities have raised the minimum wages to keep up with the soaring cost of living — San Francisco and San Jose, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto, Berkeley, Oakland and Richmond. But working families in San Mateo County have been left out.

While the economy is growing and high tech is booming in San Mateo County, working families are not sharing in this prosperity. In fact, the vast majority of American workers have seen their hourly wages stagnate or decline. What’s worse, employment prospects for young workers in the 20s and 30s – many of whom are struggling to support their families — remain grim. And the high cost of housing makes this one of the least affordable counties in the U.S.

Read more