$15.00 California Minimum Wage Initiative Will Likely Appear on 2016 Ballot

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

August 10, 2015

A union's efforts to increase the minimum wage in California to $15.00 per hour by 2021 has cleared a major hurdle.

California's attorney general approved the title and summary of a ballot initiative that, if approved, would increase the state minimum wage to $11.00 in 2017, and by another $1.00 over each of the next four years. Then, starting in 2022, the minimum wage would be adjusted each year based on the rate of inflation.

This allows the union backing the initiative, a local affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), to begin collecting signatures for a petition to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The union expects it will be able to collect the signatures of 366,000 registered voters by January 27 and have them verified by the state, as required by the state election code.

The California initiative is part of a broader $25 million campaign by the SEIU called Fight for 15, which is seeking to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 in other cities and states across the nation.

Minimum wage initiatives may also appear on the ballot next year for voters in Alabama, Florida, Maine, Oregon, South Carolina and South Dakota. But only the Oregon initiative would raise the minimum wage to $15.00; the others would raise the minimum wage to levels ranging between $8.25 and $12.50.