Minimum wage challenge is over

SAN DIEGO – It was a challenge to see if he could live on the what more than 38% of San Diegans make every week. Council President Todd Gloria survived the challenge but will it help him push the minimum wage increase forward?

Seven days ago, City Council President Todd Gloria announced he would do the minimum wage challenge and live on $51 a week.

A week later and he says it was exhausting.

“I didn’t eat out this week. I didn’t dry clean my clothes. I stopped washing my car. Businesses I did patronize saw far less of my money than they would in an average week,” he said.

The president and CEO of MAAC Project Arnulfo Manriquez did the challenge too, and he has three kids.

“We looked at fresh produce versus frozen or canned, we had to go with canned and frozen and even with that, exhausted all the food within three and a half days,” said Manriquez.

What was an experiment for them, is a reality for 21 year-old Starlen Henry, who is at present, the only one working in her family. She works at McDonalds at $9 an hour.

“Just me, my four sisters and my brother in a two bedroom, rent is so high, $1,500,” she said.

Economist Kelly Cunningham from the National University System says raising the minimum wage will disrupt more than it will help, and may increase unemployment rates.

“As an employer tries to absorb those costs, they will consolidate operations probably ask the workers they keep to do more work, but some will lose their jobs,” said Kelly.

According to the Think Research, if minimum wage goes up in the city of San Diego, prices for goods will go up, and businesses will not hire entry level people.

Cunningham says the thousands of San Diegans who live within a mile of another city, may just go there and get that first job, and consumers will go there to buy.

If the group against minimum wage gets enough signatures, 34,000 of them, by next Wednesday, September 17th, the issue will go before voters in June of 2016.

If they do not, the minimum wage increase goes up incrementally to $11.50 an hour starting next January.

Categories: KUSI