Reuters reported via NBC News this morning that minimum wage workers in California would see their wages rise a dollar a year from $8 today to $10 in January 2016.
California Republicans argued that hiking minimum wages would hurt the smaller employers, or the “mom and pop operations” as they said. Many business-friendly Democrats were also skeptical, as was Gov. Brown at first. But when the bill was amended to give the specific date of January 2016 to have a $10 minimum wage, most found themselves in support. One Democrat assemblyman who was initially against the bill, Al Muratsuchi, said that “this time I’m supporting this bill because it is a compromise… It gives employers predictability to plan for the higher labor costs.”
Although no states currently legislate a minimum of $10 wages, the highest minimum is currently Washington with $9.19, and several states are thinking about following in California’s footsteps.
Regardless of what businesses California Republicans are claiming will take a hit from increased wages, it is giant multinationals like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart that possess the loudest voices in the room. The 24/7 Wall St. version of the story via Yahoo Finance has the big corporations painting a higher minimum wage as wrecking their profits and making it impossible to take care of shareholders, but pressure from voters can have an interesting effect when it comes to reducing the power of lobby dollars.
Some businesses are even thinking they can just wait out the fury, because worker-friendly movements like Occupy Wall Street have a tendency to fizzle and fade away like a forgotten trend. But the biggest problem with Occupy Wall Street revolved around their leaderless lack of direction and focus with regard to any one societal ill. The California wage fight has a focused goal (the transformation of a minimum wage into a living wage), and businesses should go ahead and acknowledge the writing on the wall: that $7.25/hour is not a living wage for anyone, and that’s a fact.