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Policy Update: Minimum Wage Increases to $15 in San Diego

After a long, hard fight, the minimum wage in the City of San Diego, and for most employees throughout California, will finally be $15 an hour beginning January 1, 2022.  

Mayor Todd Gloria, who authored the Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Days Ordinance as a City Councilmember in 2014, invited CPI to speak at a press conference today. Mayor Gloria was joined by labor leaders, City Councilmembers, City staff and a hotel worker to celebrate the upcoming minimum wage increase. Our Executive Director, Dr. Kyra Greene delivered the following statement and call to action: 

“CPI joined in coalition with labor leaders, students, faith communities, community advocates, elected leaders including now Mayor Todd Gloria and most importantly with thousands of brave workers to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 in the City of San Diego in 2014.  

When we began the fight, to us and to most San Diegans, it was common sense that $10 an hour was not enough to survive in San Diego. But we faced opposition from special interest groups who believed they should be able to pay whatever working people would be desperate enough to accept.  

Many families will struggle less to make ends meet when the minimum wage in CA becomes $15 on January 1st, 2022 because working people came together to fight for it. Our work is not done, $15 is still not enough. In the five years it has taken us to get to a $15 minimum wage, the cost of living, especially the cost of housing, has continued to rise in San Diego. Workers who make $15 an hour struggle to make ends meet. Many work for employers who steal their wages. And too often they work in unsafe conditions like the ones that stole the lives of workers in Kentucky and Illinois last week. 

Workers in San Diego and across the country are still fighting for union representation and a $15 minimum wage for every worker in this country. At CPI, we stand in solidarity with striking workers across this region and across the country, who are fighting for union representation and the right to negotiate for fair wages without retaliation.  

We joined the Fight for $15 because we believe in worker justice. We are here today to get the word out. We knew from the start that wage theft is a rampant problem, so our minimum wage ordinance created a local office that would enforce the law. Working people may not get justice if they don’t know that the minimum wage has increased to $15 an hour in California. They won’t get justice if their employers can break the law and get away with it.  

We want your help letting every worker know that starting January 1, 2022 if your employer doesn’t pay you at least $15 an hour, you can file a complaint with the State Labor Commissioner’s Office and if you live in the City of San Diego, you also have the option of contacting the City of San Diego’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement and they will help you get the justice working people fought for.” 

Our fight for a livable wage for every San Diegan started in 2007 with the passing of the Living Wage Ordinance in the City of San Diego which requires contractors, large subsidy recipients, and large city facilities to pay workers a Living Wage. We continued the fight for better pay during a multi-year campaign to raise the minimum wage in the City of San Diego. The City of San Diego’s Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance ensured a higher minimum wage and access to paid sick leave for every worker in the city. Our work doesn’t end with passing policies. We work to ensure that they are being enforced and when needed updated to reflect the needs of the day.  

CPI continues to advocate for workers and for policies that focus on improving wages and working conditions, increasing access to earned sick days, safety net services, and raising up workers’ voices and power to win economic and social justice throughout the San Diego region. 

Related CPI Reports:

Written by CPI San Diego

Justice for Warehouse Workers/ Justicia Para Trabajadores de almacen

join the fight against wage theft/ Unéte a la lucha contra robo de salario