San Diego City Council approves increase in minimum wage by council ordinance

Jim Mahler [aftjim@mac.com]
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:30 AM
Scott,
You must have overlooked the several notices we sent out in January detailing the increases for adjunct faculty which took effect January 1, 2014.  These included:
a) 2.95% across the board increase;
b) an additional $100,000 for the adjunct office hour fund;
c) a merger of the continuing education and college adjunct salary schedules, ending 100 years of an inequitable two tier pay system.
I am glad to see you are still interested in issues affecting adjunct faculty in the SDCCD despite no longer being an SDCCD employee.  However, I’m sorry to see that you missed the positive effect that raising the bar on the poorest workers has on all wage earners.  If you are interested in understanding this in more detail please give me a call and I would be happy to explain it to you.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further information regarding what the union has done or continues to do to improve the working conditions of adjunct faculty.

Jim

 

Scott Douglas
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 6:56 AM
I recognize that not everyone agreed with this effort—to increase minimum wage. Personally, I think this is a good thing and am glad to see an increase. So please to not misconstrue what I’m about to say.
 
The majority of the faculty recipients of the posting below are adjunct (since they are the majority of the faculty). It is difficult to accurately compute what an entry level adjunct’s hourly rate of pay is because they work as professionals and put in the hours needed for the job. However, most studies agree that adjunct compensation is only slightly better than minimum wage. My personal calculations put it in the area of $12 per hour.
 
In light of the above fact, it seems a bit out of place for our union to be touting this issue which helps not one bit its own constituency who are similarly disadvantage in compensation.  Adjunct have advanced educations and many (even perhaps most) do “live on” that $12 per hr. It may well be that proportionally far more adjunct live on their adjunct income than do minimum wage employees live on their minimum wage.
 
The minimum pay for a professional, exempt, non-hourly employee is twice what a minimum wage hourly person could make working full-time (this is a matter of law, except in education for some reason). That would mean that the equivalent pay for adjuncts, to be making minimum wage under this definition, would need to be $18 per hr. right now and going up soon as these new rules come into being. Under this measure, adjuncts make less than minimum wage right now and it is getting worse.
 
If the union spends time working on improving the conditions for its own members (and I’m not saying it doesn’t), can we get some email blasts telling us of those successes. I’d much rather see those announcements over ones like below which leave me feeling as if my union is paying more attention to someone else’s pay than it is to mine?
 
Respectfully,

Scott Douglas

 

Jim Mahler [aftjim@mac.com]

 

Actions
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 9:45 PM
Colleagues,
The report below was submitted last night by AFT Guild Governmental Relations Committee Chairperson Jonathan McLeod:
From: Jonathan McLeod <jmcleod@sdccd.edu>
Date: July 14, 2014 at 11:14:58 PM PDT
The City Council, this evening at 9:30PM, voted 6-3 to approve the adoption of Council President Todd Gloria’s municipal minimum wage proposal, as amended with the inclusion of the minimum number of five paid sick leave days per year that Sherri Lightner pushed for in the final proposal.  As expected the no votes were from Republicans Kersey, Sherman, and Zapf.  The latter two were the most offensive and obtuse in their remarks.  Kersey was concerned about youth wages and even said that he might support the measure, if the SD proposal had a 90-day training period lower wage.  (The sincerity of his position as stated notwithstanding, we know, of course, that the exception likely would lead to much short-term hiring and a revolving door of employment. Sherri Lightner pointed out that Charter Cities may not enact legislation establishing two-track wages.  Overall, the discussion in the long, crowded meeting (which continued after 9:30PM on other business) was civil and frank.  Charell Hawkin (Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Coalition) led the charge of the opponents to the proposal.  Typical business arguments against any change because they all struggle so hard and just want to keep their employees, while earning a mere pittance for their investments in time and creativity.  A home health care provider agency talked about how this would throw elders, on meager fixed incomes, onto the streets, since they would not be able to hire assistants at the higher wage levels.  (The Center on Policy Initiatives economics analyst speaker said that home health care workers are employed not by those who need the care, but by the state so the argument about hanging those on fixed incomes out to dry because of the increase cost of minimum wage workers was specious.  He also pulled back the curtain and discussed the profit margins of corporations that hire home health care service workers. Their profit margins, he asserted, are about 25%, while their employees struggle at the low end of the wage scale, often only the minimum wage.)
One of the first speakers in support was Bill Walton.  (Mind you, I am not a sports aficionado, and I remember Bill Walton allied with the Gates on some of the “school reform” racket.)  Walton was great in setting a tone for the affirmatives, talking about team work, duties of citizenship and responsibility of all people for those with less, the good business sense of investing in communities to lift all boats, etc.  Another dynamo was a WWII and Korean War pilot who spoke about the role of fear in undermining society.  He observed that, in the past, all such reforms had short, medium, and long-term benefits.  So he called on people to put aside most of what the business owners were saying defensively.  Sister Justine C. Church from the Interfaith Center for Workers’ Justice apologized that she was standing in for Jesus, which should be a relief to the Council, as Jesus was harsh on capitalists.  She talked about human decency.  Alan Gin (USD economist and UT Economists Board) made many good points about how the value of the minimum wage had eroded over time, and that the viability of our society depends on those with the least not being locked into poverty.  150 other pro speakers, including the laborers local, SEIU, students, Environmental Health Coalition, UFCW, SD Labor Council, Center on Policy Initiatives, and yours truly.
The crowd that left, after the 9:30 vote was exultant, except for the Chamber of Commerce folks, some of whom had drifted out by 8:30PM, and others of whom slipped out fast after the vote.
If the ordinance ends up taking effect, workers would get a raise to $9.75 per hour on Jan 1, 2015, then to $10.50 on Jan 1, 2016.  They would always stay above the state minimum wage, and get to $11.50 on Jan 1 of 2017.  Workers can start accruing sick days as of Jan 1, 2015.   The next steps now are that the council has to vote at a second reading which will likely be on July 28th.  After that, the Mayor has ten business days to either sign or veto.  If he does sign, it is enacted.  If he vetoes, the council has 30 days to override his veto (they would probably schedule a vote in a special hearing in mid-August).  If he does nothing, it is enacted on the 11th day, roughly August 11th.  If the opposition decides to referend, they have 30 days to collect signatures from the final legislative act, which is either the Mayor’s signature, the veto override, or the expiration of the veto period.
There you have it!
In Solidarity,
Jonathan
Addendum from Center on Policy initiatives:  
San Diego is now the largest city in the United States with a local minimum wage, and a leader in a growing national movement.  This vote will mean raises for 172,000 San Diegans and paid sick time for 279,000 working people who now have none.  Access to earned sick days and the first phase of the wage increase take effect January, 2015.  The minimum wage will rise to $11.50 by January 1, 2017, and will be indexed to inflation starting in 2019