Silicon Valley takes regional approach to raising minimum wage

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Individual cities around the Bay Area have chosen to raise the minimum wage, but in the Silicon Valley there is a regional approach to paying workers more. (KGO-TV )

Individual cities around the Bay Area have chosen to raise the minimum wage, but in the Silicon Valley there is a regional approach to paying workers more.

Nearly half of the mayors in Santa Clara County have come together to support an initiative to raise the minimum wage.

In San Jose, the minimum wage is $10.30 an hour. Over in Santa Clara, it's at $9 an hour and this initiative brings new meaning to the belief that every dollar counts.

Lauryn Saunders, a San Jose native and University of California Davis student, works full-time at a restaurant in downtown Campbell. After seeing some of her friends struggle to make ends meet, she wonders what the job market will be like once she graduates from college.

"They have to cram in rooms, share apartments, like it's hard, like I feel bad for my friends who try to make it on their own," Saunders said.

Seveal mayors came together Thursday afternoon to announce the first steps towards potentially raising the minimum wage across Santa Clara County, backing a proposed study that would be funded in part by the city of San Jose.

"What we'd like to do is to ensure that as a valley, we can come together and raise wages in a thoughtful way, and do it in a way that doesn't impact, negatively, small businesses, and some of those folks that are struggling the most," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Sushi Confidential owner Randy Musterer is in favor of a regional approach that helps level the playing field, but says that any type of implementation needs to be carefully planned.

"We would have to pass on all of those costs to our consumers, and then we may have less customers coming in, and therefore, we're going to cut staff," said Randy Musterer, a Campbell restaurant owner.

San Jose State professor Scott Myers-Lipton says he's encouraged by what he has seen so far, saying what happens here in Silicon Valley could effect the entire nation.

"When you talk to folks that are making minimum wage, what people say is, it didn't solve my problems, but it helped, it helped pay for the basics, rent, food, transportation," Myers-Lipton said.

The study will take a few months to complete. But any decisions would ultimately be made by individual cities.

Related Topics:
businesssilicon valleyminimum wagesalarytechnologysanta clara countyjobswebsitesinternetcoffeefast food restaurantrestaurantsmall businessSan JoseCampbell
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