San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Statement on Preemptive Minimum Wage Ballot Measure

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is outraged by the preemptive minimum wage ballot measure designed by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and other labor and activist groups.

“The Minimum Wage Act of 2014 flies in the face of collaboration and partnership,” said Bob Linscheid, President & CEO, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “This initiative is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to influence the outcome of the consensus-building process that will begin this week under the leadership of Mayor Ed Lee. Actions that seek to preempt productive dialogue have no place in our city’s policy-making process and do nothing to bring stakeholders together as we prepare to tackle some of our city’s most important challenges.”

Responding to the issues of housing and affordability, Mayor Ed Lee in his State-of-the-City address signaled support for a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage, and pledged to approach the issue through dialogue and consensus, similar to the successful and Chamber-supported approach recently used to pass business tax reform. This process begins this week, with the first official meeting convening the Mayor’s Minimum Wage Task Force.

The preemptive ballot measure designed by the labor groups in advance of the Mayor’s process includes specific policies, timeframes and oversight requirements that should be discussed, vetted and endorsed by all stakeholders prior to advancing to the voters.

San Francisco has long led the way on Minimum Wage and business has been an active partner in helping to boost wages in our city. The Chamber and the city’s business community will consider another increase; however, concerns over the implementation time frame and total compensation costs must be addressed to ensure that any new wage increase achieves the intended goal of making the city more affordable and does not have negative, unintended, consequences on job creators and the economy.

The Chamber, which represents 1,500 businesses and 200,000 employees from every industry and neighborhood across San Francisco, will continue to work with our members to discuss this issue and looks forward to working with Mayor Lee and all stakeholders in a respectful and productive process that leads to consensus.

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 Founded in 1850, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is recognized as the preeminent business organization for advocacy, networking and economic growth. The Chamber delivers on its mission to attract, develop and support business in San Francisco by representing companies and organizations that make San Francisco a preferred destination for businesses and visitors – a great place to live and work. More information is available at SFChamber.com.