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Local salary proposals work poorly for Gig, health workers (1)

A set of local minimum wage proposals appeared to fare badly in initial poll results on Tuesday, as voters considered industry-specific wage increases for workers in healthcare, hospitality, concerts and services in cities in California and Maine.

The California measures proposed raising minimum wages in unusually industry-specific ways. A ballot measure in Portland, Maine, would have raised the wage floor for all workers, while also extending the minimum wage to cover tipped workers and independent contractors.

The proposals have faced stiff opposition from industries that would be affected, including hospitals battling California’s measures and the restaurant industry – as well as ride-sharing and delivery app companies – battling the Maine proposal. Voters rejected Portland’s measure and two of California’s three proposals were set to fail Wednesday morning.

California’s results weren’t final, however, as a large number of mail-in ballots still need to be counted, spokespersons for the Los Angeles County and Los Angeles County election offices said Wednesday afternoon. ‘Orange.

Statewide minimum wage proposals fared better than local initiatives on election night. Nebraska voters approved a plan to phase in a $15 minimum by 2026, and voters in the District of Columbia approved a proposal to phase out the underpayment minimum for tipped workers, meaning that they will be entitled to the full minimum wage by 2027.

Salaries in California

Efforts to push through higher minimum wages for specific industries are part of the unions’ playbook, said Michael Saltsman, chief executive of the conservative-leaning Employment Policy Institute. He cited as an example Compete for the organizers initial goal of $15 on the fast food industry, after which they began pushing for a universal minimum wage of $15 in cities and states.

“Their tendency is to target one industry for a specific minimum wage goal and then try to apply it broadly from there,” he said.

Inglewood City, Calif., appears to be an exception to the election night trend of local wage measures struggling to gain traction. Voters there supported a proposal requiring private sector hospitals and clinics to pay workers at least $25 an hour by a 53.5% to 46.5% margin at Wednesday morning’s incomplete vote count. A similar measure was failing in nearby Duarte, Calif., with 64% “no” votes in results Wednesday morning.

The measures are part of a broader campaign to raise wages for healthcare workers in California, said Renée Saldaña, a spokeswoman for SEIU’s United Healthcare Workers West, which supports the measures. Voters could consider similar ballot measures in coming years in Downey, Long Beach, Monterey Park and Los Angeles, after some of their city councils approved ordinances on healthcare workers, but opponents blocked them. by filing petitions for an electoral referendum, she said.

Hospitals and other facilities were already struggling with staffing shortages before Covid-19, and the pandemic has only made matters worse, Saldaña said. Now, lower-paid workers, such as health care aides, can earn more money in other industries without any specialized training.

” They leave. We compete with fast food and Target and retail for these low-wage workers,” she said. “The $25 minimum wage would really help keep those workers in those hospitals.”

In Laguna Beach, California.It was hospitality workers whose minimum wage proposal faced bleak prospects, with voters rejecting it by a margin of 68.8% to 31.2% in early results released Wednesday morning. The measure would require hotels to pay their employees at least $18 an hour, with the rate set to increase each year until it reaches $22 in 2026.

Portland workers

Voters in Portland, Maine, rejected the minimum wage proposal on their ballots by a margin of 61% to 39%.

This measure would have raised the local minimum wage to $18 an hour, from the current $13. The measure proposed to apply Portland’s wage law to gig workers as well as tipped workers, phasing out the tip credit that restaurants and other service businesses use to reduce the pay they are required to pay. pay waiters and other service workers.

Beyond the wage floor increase, Portland law would have required ridesharing and delivery app companies such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Lyft Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., to be classified as employers and their drivers as employees for the purposes of city work. laws.

He also reportedly created a local Fair Labor Practices Department to enforce minimum wage and develop rules dictating how that wage would apply to ride-sharing and delivery drivers.

Rideshare and delivery app companies classify their drivers as independent contractors, so they’re not subject to minimum wage and other labor laws in most cities and states.

One exception is Washington State, where lawmakers enacted legislation this year to give rideshare drivers certain legal protections, including minimum wage per ride, while clarifying that they remain independent contractors, not employees of rideshare companies. Other states have considered, but stopped before passing similar proposals that strike a compromise between drivers and app companies.

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