Bay Cities Take the Lead in Minimum Wage Hikes

San Francisco has joined its sister city, Oakland, in establishing the highest minimum wage rates in the country, increasing the citywide minimum wage from $11.05 to $12.25. The hike occurred on April 15th following Oakland’s raise in early March, and it marks an important step toward achieving the eventual goal of $15 per hour that’s targeted for 2018, according to the Service Employees International Union 1021.

The union hailed the move in a statement issued just prior to the rate going into effect, calling it a “mass movement on behalf of all the low-wage workers in our society.”

“The Bay Area is moving to develop the first regional standard in the country for wages and working conditions,” said Gary Jimenez, SEIU 1021’s Vice President for the East Bay.

Following the lead of San Francisco and Oakland, Bay Area cities Emeryville and Berkeley hope to join in a minimum wage hike. In Emeryville, the city council will consider a proposal to raise the wage to $14.42 immediately, with plans to raise it to nearly $16 by 2019. Berkeley’s council will consider a proposal in June aimed at raising the minimum wage in that city to $15.99 by 2017.

The hikes in minimum wage reflect a nationwide movement toward better rights for minimum wage workers who often find themselves struggling to make ends meet despite working long hours. Demanding a fair wage may seem intimidating to many workers, but the fact is, workers have many rights of which they may not be aware. Different cities can have very different wage and labor laws, and understanding your rights in terms of your location is critical to ensuring that your employer treats you fairly.

If you need assistance with a harassment, discrimination or wage and hour case from a qualified and experienced New York employment law firm, call Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP today at 1 (212) 688-5640, or email us at

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