On Tuesday, San Jose voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to increase the minimum wage in the city from $8 to $10 an hour. Measure D drew 58% of the vote in a race where opponents outspent supporters by more than 2 to 1. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce pledged to raise more than a million dollars to keep businesses from having to pay their minimum wage workers $2 more an hour, but San Jose residents proved the increase was the right thing to do.
San Jose State sociology students, led by their professor, Scott Myers Lipton, came up with the idea and quickly drew the support of labor, non-profits and community leaders to bring the initiative to the ballot box.
Cindy Chavez, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council:
This is a victory for tens of thousands of hard working San Jose residents. The students who took on this challenge should be extremely proud of themselves for standing up for what's right.
Elisha St. Laurent, one of the sociology students involved in the conception of Measure D and president of CAFE J, a San Jose State student economic justice organization:
I am a student and a single mother. Because of this measure, I’ll be able to afford better food and new shoes for my son. These are things that he needs that I can’t always afford on $8 an hour pay.
San Jose joins San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Santa Fe and Albuquerque among the cities that have a citywide minimum wage above the state minimum. Measure D will go into effect in early 2013.