New year means pay raise for minimum wage workers across Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland, San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara are among the cities where workers can expect a pay raise thanks to New Year's Day minimum wage increases.

The new year will mean a new bottom line for thousands of minimum wage workers across San Jose like Angela Schuller, a server at Flames restaurant downtown.

Minimum wage earnings are increase from $15 to $15.25 with the start of 2020 in San Jose.

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"Does the 25 cents really make that big of a difference over the whole year?" said Schuller, "I'm not sure yet. I guess we'll find out at the end of the year."

While the pay bump is a good thing for workers like Schuller, it's a price that will be passed on to her customers.

"They'll go 'Oh no, I thought this was $13.50, but now it's $14.50 or $14,'" she said. But then you'll have to say, 'Well we had to increase the price because (the business) had an increase.'"

Some customers don't mind and say an increase of a quarter just isn't enough in such tough times.

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"I think it should be more," said Cassandra Alvarez. "The rent is too high. I think it should be $17 or $18."

Minimum wages also increased in the following Bay Area cities:

  • Oakland: Minimum wage increased from $13.80 to $14.14

  • Santa Clara: Minimum wage increased from $15 to $15.40

  • Sunnyvale: Minimum wage increased from $15.65 to $16.05

  • San Jose: Minimum wage increased from $15 to $15.25

Some say they are concerned about a potentially negative trickle down effect of rent and the cost of living jumping as wages increase.

John Quinonez, a delivery driver in Sunnyvale, says he's worried about what the changes will actually mean but is remaining optimistic.

"It may just be helpful for minimum wage workers out there and I hope it's that way," said Quinonez.
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