City Beat

Labor advocates will gather signatures for $15 Sacramento minimum wage

Two workers’ rights groups and the local Democratic Party want to gradually raise Sacramento’s minimum wage to $15 an hour through a November 2016 ballot measure.

A coalition called Raise the Wage Sacramento filed paperwork on Monday notifying the city that it intends to gather signatures to place the measure on the ballot. The group needs to collect 21,503 signatures from registered city voters.

Members of the group said in October they intended to push forward with the ballot measure, a day after the City Council approved a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour by 2020.

The Raise the Wage measure also would require employers to provide one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.

“We’re not just collecting the signatures we need to qualify for the ballot; we’re organizing at the grass-roots level so that earned sick time and a high minimum wage will be passed in November by the people of Sacramento,” said Tamie Dramer, a Raise the Wage representative, in a statement.

A Raise the Wage news release said the plan would result in “wages that are fair and will lift working families out of poverty.” Proponents of the measure include the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, Organize Sacramento and the Center for Workers’ Rights.

The proposal would increase the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour in January 2017. The rate would climb to $13 an hour in 2018, $14 per hour in 2019 and then to $15 an hour in January 2020. Future increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

The group Region Business quickly opposed the proposal, calling it “a divisive ballot measure that will hurt Sacramento’s economy.”

“Region Business opposes this reckless measure which will force restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores and other businesses to close,” the group said in a news release.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis