Living wage wins at Silicon Valley’s second largest employer
Today the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the nation’s most comprehensive living wage to the 17,000 workers employed directly by the County government. This expands the original ordinance we passed in December, which covered for-profit contractors doing business with the County.
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As dozens of Living Wage supporters rallied at the County headquarters, the board voted 4-0-1 to pass the measure, with Supervisor Joe Simitian abstaining.
The Board's action today builds on the comprehensive living wage ordinance we passed passed last December to help low-wage workers hired by county contractors reach economic dignity in Silicon Valley, co-authored by Supervisors Ken Yeager and Dave Cortese. The original ordinance protects service workers paid through the $2.25 billion that the county spends every year on contracts, while today's vote commits the County to the same standards for its own workers when it sets personnel policy or negotiates contracts with its unions.
Santa Clara County's living wage, championed by a diverse coalition of workers and community and faith leaders advocating for income and gender equity, is the first in the country to include fair workweek provisions, protecting workers from unpredictable work schedules that are a major cause of income instability and prevent them from planning child care, a second job or further education. The policy also aims to increase work hours for involuntary part-time workers - those who want full-time work. Their ranks have swelled by 65% in Santa Clara County over the last five years alone.
The county's action on these issues places it at the forefront of a growing national movement for fair workweek, including cities such as San Francisco and Minneapolis along with federal legislation that was reintroduced in June.
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