Palo Alto became the sixth city in Santa Clara County to raise the minimum wage for workers within its city limits. This month, the mayors of San Jose and eight other cities have called for uniform minimum wage throughout Santa Clara County, according to a September 2015 San Jose Mercury News editorial.
“Grown-ups hold these low-wage jobs. The valley is lacking jobs in the middle-income range, where hourly workers once found the stepping stone to a better life. . . The minimum wage plan includes doing a study of various options suggested by Liccardo and two San Jose council members. We’re sympathetic to helping on-the-edge small businesses ease into higher pay, but we’re more leery of allowing lower starting rates for some workers — particularly former foster children included in a ‘hard to employ’ category. These kids are abandoned by the state when they turn 18 and often end up homeless or in jail. They need decent pay at least as much as anyone else.”
The Mercury concludes that a uniform minimum wage across the county will end “the confusing and unfair variations now required in different cities.” But the confusing patchwork of minimum wage ordinances doesn’t stop at the county line.