New initiative aims to give San Jose workers more hours

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Even as San Jose is considering a new $15 minimum wage by 2019, community groups have gathered signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot about giving workers more hours. (KGO-TV )

Even as San Jose is considering a new $15 minimum wage by 2019, community groups have gathered signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot about giving workers more hours.


Employees at the city clerk's office wasted no time checking an estimated 33,000 signatures on petitions. The initiative specifies that employers have to give their workers more hours before adding part-time workers. "Eight hours a day, five days a week. Otherwise, not even $15 an hour will be enough if you don't work all the hours you can to bring enough money to your family," Latinos United for a New America spokesperson Salvador Bustamante said.

Alejandra Meja is a single mother of three. Her job as a fast-food manager pays $12 an hour, but the hours are insufficient to pay for food and rent for her son and two daughters. "Every week it jumps up and down. Sometimes we only get 10, 12 hours, maybe 15, like last week it was only eight hours," Meja said.

"What happens with part-time workers is if I can only get a few hours here, I have to go get another job and get a few hours there, and then I have to go to another job and get a few hours there, and if you have lots of people in the community doing that, that's destabilizing to our whole community," Minority Business Consortium spokesperson Reginald Swilley said.

The president and CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce warns there's a down-side to the plan. "Our concern is that you start forcing on a smaller number of employees to have more hours, then those opportunities for teen employment actually go down or go away," San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Matt Mahood said.

This comes at a time when Florida's governor is going to be in California next week to entice businesses to move.

A radio commercial advertises that if people are ready to leave California, they should head to Florida instead because there's no state income tax.
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