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NEWS: Living Wage Act to Submit 1 Million Signatures to Counties to Qualify Measure for November 2022 Ballot

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MAY 12, 2022


LOS ANGELES – The Living Wage Act today has begun the process of submitting more than one million signatures to counties across California to qualify the measure for the November 2022 ballot. 

The Living Wage Act relied heavily on the support of union members, labor advocates, and volunteers to collect the necessary signatures in record time. Nearly 60 thousand signatures were collected by members of Unite Here Local 11 in just over two months. 

More than three-quarters of Californians – 76 percent – of likely general election voters in the Golden State support raising the minimum wage, according to new polling from Tulchin Research.

Voters were especially motivated to support the measure when learning that more than 60 percent of the essential workers who fed and cared for us throughout the pandemic – the people who harvested our food, checked us out at the grocery store, and cared for seniors in nursing homes – were living in poverty. 

The initiative is led by anti-poverty advocate Joe Sanberg, and has garnered support from scores of unions and labor advocates across the state, including Dolores Huerta, AFSCME California PEOPLE, the California Faculty Association, Unite Here Local 11, UPTE-CWA Local 9119 and SEIU Local 87.

“California voters have been clear: people working full time should be able to afford life’s basic needs,” said Sanberg. “Californians simply cannot afford to support a family on the current minimum wage – which amounts to just $31,200 a year for someone working full-time. Raising the minimum wage in the Golden State is a moral imperative.”

“Millions of California’s essential workers are earning starvation wages,” said Ada Briceño, Co-President, Unite Here local 11. “They shouldn’t end the day wondering how they’re going to feed their kids. It’s not right. One job should be enough to lift a family out of poverty. We need an $18 minimum wage.”

Many Californians who are paid the current minimum wage often must rely on the state’s social safety net to meet their basic needs. Raising the minimum wage would increase the earnings of many Medi-Cal recipients, making them eligible for federal subsidies on California’s health benefit exchange, saving the state millions of dollars a year in Medi-Cal costs.

“Raising the minimum wage is one of the strongest anti-poverty measures we have as a state,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. “For low-wage workers, a higher minimum wage is life-changing. Better wages for workers also means they have more to spend at local businesses in our communities. If we’re serious about combating poverty and reducing inequality, raising the minimum wage is an absolute necessity.”

“People who work full-time shouldn’t have to take on second and third jobs to meet their families’ basic needs,” said Honey Mahogany, Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Central Committee. “The Living Wage Act is a long overdue correction to set California on the right path and pay workers fair wages for hard work. I hope you’ll join me in voting YES on the Living Wage Act in November.”

When passed, the Living Wage Act of 2022 will increase the California minimum wage by $1 each year to reach $18 by 2025, and each year thereafter will raise the minimum wage to keep pace with the cost of living in California. Employers with 25 or fewer employees would reach $18 by 2026.

The Tulchin Research poll is based on a survey of 1,200 California adult likely voters residents from April 5-11, 2022. 

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