City Beat

Union seeks minimum wage hike for Sacramento Kings arena workers

Unite Here filed paperwork with the city of Sacramento  to begin gathering signatures for a proposal to raise the minimum wage for arena workers to $13.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017, and gradually increase the rate to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019.
Unite Here filed paperwork with the city of Sacramento to begin gathering signatures for a proposal to raise the minimum wage for arena workers to $13.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017, and gradually increase the rate to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019. Sacramento Bee file

A union coalition representing hotel and food service workers has indicated it will collect signatures for a ballot measure seeking to raise the minimum wage for employees at the new arena in downtown Sacramento.

Unite Here filed paperwork with the city of Sacramento on Wednesday to begin gathering signatures for a proposal to raise the minimum wage for arena workers to $13.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017, and gradually increase the rate to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019.

It’s unclear when the measure would appear on the ballot. The union would need to collect 21,503 signatures to qualify the measure for a regularly scheduled election. Unite Here could not immediately be reached for comment.

The proposed ordinance would cover all businesses operating sports or entertainment facilities on city land, but explicitly mentions the Sacramento Kings’ $507 million Golden 1 Center that is scheduled to open next year. The city last month sold $272.9 million in bonds to cover the public’s share of the arena financing.

The proposal also would require the Kings to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours employees work; establish a local hiring preference for workers; and require employers who collect service charges on bills to hand that revenue over to their employees.

A separate minimum wage proposal to raise the citywide rate to $12.50 an hour by 2020 is under consideration by the City Council, which is scheduled to vote on that plan Oct. 27. But opposition is mounting, with two workers’ rights groups saying this week the city will likely be sued if it follows through with a provision of the plan to allow businesses an exemption from paying the minimum wage if they can prove their workers take home at least $15 an hour with tips.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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