New Battle Over Minimum Wage in Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO --

Fifteen dollars an hour -- it’s the wage many workers around the country, and in Sacramento, have been fighting for.

Two months ago, Sacramento City Council voted to raise the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour by 2020.  That meeting got rowdy and resulted in two arrests.

Now “Raise the Wage Sacramento” has filed a ballot initiative calling for $15 an hour by 2020 and for one hour of sick time per 30 hours worked.

The group insists the increase will help working families get by.

“If they win everyone loses,” said Josh Wood, CEO of Region Restaurants, a trade association representing the restaurant industry.

That group has launched a campaign opposing the initiative.

Wood insists Sacramento’s business owners will suffer with the increased wage.

He adds that it may also drive business away from the city, where minimum wage is $10 an hour.

“Where is a business going to locate? It’s gonna be outside the city, which means workers that live here and businesses that try to operate here will be at a massive competitive disadvantage,” said Wood.

In less than three weeks, Michael Gelber’s restaurant, Railbridge Cellars & Company, will open in Downtown Sacramento.

“We think it’s a great opportunity to capitalize on the arena coming downtown to get people more options to come before, come after and create jobs,” Gelber said.

But he worries what a minimum age increase would mean for his bottom line and for his customers.

“It makes us very nervous because it’s an unknown as far as how that’s gonna impact u,s how it's gonna impact the pricing the cost of goods, everything’s a trickle down,” Gelber said.

As the initiative begins collecting signatures to get on the ballot, business advocated want people to carefully consider the effects of their decisions.

In order to get on the November 2016 ballot, the initiative has to get more than 21,500 signatures by July.