As we enjoy the Labor Day holiday and pause to consider its meaning, this is a good time to consider whether a change to the minimum wage is appropriate. Local efforts to raise the minimum wage in nearby cities and on a more regional basis have been in the news recently, including efforts in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto.
The California minimum wage is currently $9.00 per hour and will increase to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View have adopted a $10.30 minimum wage with annual adjustments for inflation. Palo Alto recently adopted an $11.00 minimum wage, effective in January 2016. There is a regional effort to raise the local minimum wage to $15 by 2018.
The Church Council of LAUMC adopted a resolution supporting an increase in the minimum wage at its July 19 meeting. This was following a Raise the Wage community forum held on May 4 at LAUMC, sponsored by the Bold Service and Social Justice Committee and the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. The resolution notes that workers should be treated with respect, dignity and fairness and that exploitation or underpayment of workers is incompatible with Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor. The Church Council considered the issue at two meetings and reviewed summaries of various studies showing that:
- The current minimum wage does not provide the income necessary to be self-sufficient in Santa Clara County.
- The percentage of households in Santa Clara County living in poverty and below self-sufficiency standards was 29.5% in 2012.
- A higher minimum wage encourages self-sufficiency and reduces the need for reliance on government and nonprofit subsidies and services.
- A higher minimum wage supports the local economy and keeps our City competitive with surrounding cities in attracting and retaining workers.
The resolution also notes that The United Methodist Church “supports efforts in the US Congress to raise the minimum wage to a living wage and index it to inflation.” Click here for a full copy of the resolution adopted by the LAUMC Church Council. You can visit the Silicon Valley Rising webpage to learn more about efforts to ensure that all workers share in Silicon Valley’s prosperity.