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Smart Voter
Humboldt County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure R
Minimum Wage Ordinance Initiative
City of Eureka

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 2796 / 38.9% Yes votes ...... 4389 / 61.1% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 4 11:42pm
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall an ordinance be adopted that (1) requires (a) payment of minimum wages in Eureka at $12.00 per hour for employers with 25 or more employees (including Welfare-to-Work Programs) with an annual increase, if any, based on the Consumer Price Index beginning the ninetieth (90th) day after certification; (b) City Attorney enforcement through fines, penalties, or civil actions; (c) City Council authority to amend the ordinance with regard to implementation or enforcement; and (d)voter approval of substantive changes to the ordinance; and (2) allows private enforcement through civil actions?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
This initiative ordinance, if approved by a majority of the voters, would add a new chapter to the Eureka Municipal Code ("Code") requiring employers with 25 or more employees to pay employees a minimum wage of $12.00/hour for work performed within the City of Eureka. The minimum wage required by California law is currently $9.00/hour, and the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hour. Employers within the City are required to pay the highest of the local, state or federal minimum wage. The new minimum wage, if passed, would take effect ninety (90) days after certification of the election results and require the City to adjust it each year beginning January 1, 2014, based on increases in a Consumer Price Index.

The proposed ordinance would apply to most employers, including not only those who are subject to the Business License Tax, Chapter 110 of the Code, but also those who assign an employee or employees to perform work within the geographic boundaries of Eureka. The proposed ordinance seeks to apply to participants in welfare-to-work programs, administered by the County of Humboldt, by limiting the number of hours the participants will be required to work to the number of hours equal to the cash benefits divided by the minimum wage. The minimum wage requirement would not apply to a person who works less than two hours per week.

The proposed ordinance includes a number of administrative requirements and enforcement provisions. Covered employers would be required to post current and prospective minimum wage rates at the place of employment, notify the employees of current and prospective minimum wage rates, and maintain certain payroll records. The proposed ordinance would prohibit retaliation or discrimination against any person seeking to enforce the rights provided by the ordinance. The City Attorney would be required to administer and enforce the provisions including, investigating possible violations, issuing administrative citations and compliance orders, and filing a lawsuit in court. Remedies include back wages, civil penalties, equitable relief, and payment of reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Any person harmed by a violation, or any member of the public, would have the right to sue in court to enforce the requirement.

A "yes" vote is a vote to require payment of a minimum wage of $12.00/hour for work performed in Eureka under certain circumstances and to approve the implementation and enforcement of the requirement as described above.

A "no" vote is a vote to continue payment of the state minimum wage of $9.00/hour and the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25/hour.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure R. If you would like to read the full text of the measure, see or call (707) 441-4144 and a copy will be sent at no cost to you. Measure R was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters.

/s/ Cyndy Day-Wilson City Attorney City of Eureka

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Arguments For Measure R Arguments Against Measure R
Vote "YES" for Measure R, Eureka's Fair Wage Act. It is essential to rejuvenate the economy of Eureka and this entire region.

Measure R raises our minimum wage to $12 an hour, to be paid by large employers, enabling people who work hard to earn a fair wage, pay their bills, and take care of their kids.

Measure R reflects our sense of fairness, addresses economic realities, and is sound public policy. Minimum wage increases boost local business because low-wage workers spend their money here. Higher earnings will continuously stimulate our economy.

Cities that raise their minimum wage see their economies thrive. The multiplier effect from additional money in people's pockets will lower poverty rates and grow our economy. In San Jose's first year with a higher minimum wage, employment rose and 9,000 businesses started.

Measure R reduces working people's reliance on government aid. California's minimum wage fails us and is not indexed to inflation. Measure R is indexed, so if the cost of living goes up, workers' wages will keep pace.

"Mom and Pop" stores are not required to pay the higher wage under Measure R's small business exemption.

Over 65% of people who will directly benefit from Measure R are working women, many of them raising children. One third of workers who will get higher wages are over 40. Almost 90% of workers who will directly benefit from Measure R are older than 20.

City cost of enforcement can be recovered from violators.

Community members created Measure R to improve the economy and our lives. Your "YES" vote allows working individuals and families to meet their needs, while enhancing the quality of life for everyone in our community. Our relatives, friends, and neighbors deserve to be paid fairly. Measure R empowers you to make that a reality.

The Fair Wage Folks

/s/James Decker, Treasurer /s/Don Swall /s/Zack Thiesen /s/Kimberly Starr

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Proponents say the higher wage will not affect "Mom and Pop stores". In fact, many of our locally owned service businesses have more than 25 employees, and many of our long time family owned businesses and non-profits providing essential services, have over 25 employees. The poor design of the measure hurts them the most.

The prices for essential services like gas, food and healthcare will go up, while those with no means to pay for them, like senior citizens, the unemployed, and the disabled, will be the hardest hit.

Proponents cite San Jose's minimum wage increases as a success story, but they have selectively pulled a job growth statistic unrelated to the minimum wage increase. The truth, according to the Employment Policies Institute, is that service businesses were hit very hard. One year after the adoption, their survey found that 66.3% of businesses raised their prices, 44.8% reduced employee hours, 42.3% reduced staffing levels, and 7.4% closed their locations in San Jose.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, San Jose/Santa Clara County now has nation's fifth-highest homeless population. If Santa Clara, the home of Facebook, Google, and Apple, report such affects after raising the minimum wage to $10.00, one can only imagine what an increase to $12.00 will do in Eureka's fragile economy.

We'd all like higher wages and to improve our local economy, but the increases sought in this measure are too high, too fast, and too flawed in design. No on Measure R.

The Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce /s/Don Smullin Secretary, The Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce

The City of Eureka already suffers from a fragile economy. Many storefronts stand empty, and businesses are struggling to stay open. While our residents are struggling to find jobs, Measure R threatens to cause layoffs, worker hour reduction, and it creates a disincentive for businesses to expand or increase staff. Many businesses have reported they may have to close down or leave the city.

Measure R was poorly designed and harms our community:

1) Since it only affects employers with more than 25 employees, the ordinance selectively hurts midsize businesses and small businesses trying to expand. Many employers with less than 25 employees will resist expansion while employers over 25 employees may lay-off employees to avoid being affected by the ordinance.

2) Measure R does not account for benefits and other non-wage compensation as other cities have done with similar measures. Employers have reported they will cut employee benefits as an offset. Passing measure R will mean that employees stand to lose health care insurance, vacation pay, paid sick time, and other important benefits.

3) Measure R places Eureka businesses at a competitive disadvantage to those outside of the city limits, decreasing our tax base, threatening resources for public safety, and further harming Eureka's economic development.

4) Measure R threatens the very existence of many non-profit organizations with fixed funding and no method to increase revenues. The 18 month amnesty for non-profits will only delay the loss of important services for the most vulnerable of our population.

We urge you to vote NO on Measure R in favor of a measured and responsible approach to lifting wages and improving our local economy; one that increases available employment, supports our non-profits and improves public service by growing our business tax base.

/s/ Don Smullin Secretary, The Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce

Rebuttal to Arguments Against

Raising the minimum wage invigorates a fragile economy. The economics of the Chamber of Commerce have resulted in stagnant wages for working people and empty storefronts throughout the city.

Minimum wage increases, on the other hand, have stimulated economies and increased employment in every city where implemented. More money in workers' hands means more local spending.

The argument against Measure R sounds right, but is it true? NO. And the Chamber offers zero evidence for its argument.

The Chamber falsely claims that businesses will be reluctant to expand when Measure R passes and that non- profits will suffer. However, in every city with minimum wage increases, existing businesses grow, new businesses start, and non-profits continue their good works.

What does Measure R do?

"R" protects small, local businesses while forcing large, highly profitable establishments to pay fair wages.

"R" increases spending in Eureka, expanding city revenues, while reducing welfare costs for full-time working families.

Why would we support businesses attracted to a low wage, low benefit environment? Workers need fair wage employers. Fair wage employers will stay competitive through higher productivity and increased local patronage. This will inspire similar initiatives in neighboring cities, as seen in the Bay Area.

We have the opportunity to help restore the middle class and mend a broken economy. The authors of Measure R have made certain that this has been done in a responsible manner.

The Humboldt/Del Norte Central Labor Council enthusiastically endorses Measure R.


The Fair Wage Folks

/s/Zack Thiesen /s/James Decker, Treasurer /s/Kimberly Starr /s/Don Swall

Full Text of Measure R
SECTION 1. Title XI of the Eureka City Code Of Ordinances is hereby amended to add a new Chapter to be numbered, entitled and to read as follows:

CHAPTER 123.00

Fair Wage Act

123. 01 TITLE. This ordinance shall be known as the "Eureka Fair Wage Act."

123.02 AUTHORITY. This Chapter is adopted pursuant to the powers vested in the City of Eureka under the laws and Constitution of the State of California, but not limited to the police powers vested in the City pursuant to Article XI, Section 7 of the California Constitution and Section 1205(b) of the California Labor Law.

123.03 DEFINITIONS. The following terms shall have the following meanings: A. "City" shall mean the City of Eureka. B. "Employee" shall mean any person who:
1. during a particular calendar week performs at least two (2) hours of work for an Employer as defined below; and
2. qualifies as an employee entitled to payment of a minimum wage from any employer under the California minimum wage law, as provided under Section 1197 of the California Labor Code and wage orders published by the California Industrial Welfare Commission, or is a participant in a Welfare-to-Work Program. C. "Employer" shall mean any person, including corporate officers or executives, as defined in Section 18 of the California Labor Code, who: 1) directly or indirectly through any other person, including through the services of a temporary employment agency, staffing agency or similar entity, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours or working conditions of any Employee; and 2) is either subject to Business License Tax Chapter 110 of the Municipal Code of the City of Eureka or assigns an Employee or Employees to perform work within the geographic boundaries of the City. D. "Minimum Wage " shall have the meaning set forth in Section 123.04(B) of this Chapter. E. "Welfare-to-Work Program" shall mean the CalWORKS Program, including but not limited to the Temporary Assistance To Needy Families Program (TANF), and the General Relief Program, and any successor programs that are substantially similar to them. F. "City Attorney " shall mean the City Attorney of the City of Eureka. G. "Nonprofit Corporation" shall mean a nonprofit corporation, duly organized, validly existing and in good standing under the laws of the jurisdiction of its incorporation and (if a foreign corporation) in good standing under the laws of the State of California, which corporation has established and maintains valid nonprofit status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and all rules and regulations promulgated under such Section. H. "Code" shall mean the Municipal Charter and Code of the City of Eureka, California.
123. 04 MINIMUM WAGE. A. Employers for which twenty-five (25) or more Employees perform work for compensation during any particular calendar week shall pay Employees no less than the Minimum Wage set forth in this Chapter for each hour worked within the geographic boundaries of the City during that week. B. Beginning on the effective date of this Chapter, or for Nonprofit Corporations as defined in Section 123.03 of this Ordinance, 18 months after the effective date of this Chapter, the Minimum Wage shall be an hourly rate of twelve dollars ($12). To prevent inflation from eroding its value, beginning on January 1,2014, and each year thereafter, the Minimum Wage shall increase by an amount corresponding to the prior year's increase, if any, in the cost of living. The prior year's increase in the cost of living shall be measured by the percentage increase, if any, as of August of the immediately preceding year over the level as of August of the previous year of the Consumer Price Index (Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, U.S. City Average for All Items) or its successor index as published by the U.S. Department of Labor or its successor agency, with the amount of the minimum wage increase rounded to the nearest multiple of five cents. The adjusted minimum wage shall be announced by October 1 of each year, and shall become effective as the new minimum wage on January 1. C. A violation for unlawfully failing to pay the Minimum Wage shall be deemed to continue from the date immediately following the date that the wages were due and payable as provided in Part 1 (commencing with Section 200) of Division 2 of the California Labor Code, to the date immediately preceding the date the wages are paid in full.
123.05 WAIVER THROUGH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. All or any portion of the applicable requirements of this Chapter may be waived in a bona fide collective bargaining agreement, provided that such waiver is explicitly set forth in such agreement in clear and unambiguous terms.
123.06 NOTICE, POSTING, AND PAYROLL RECORDS. A. By December 1 of each year, the City Attorney shall publish and make available to Employers a bulletin announcing the adjusted Minimum Wage rate for the upcoming year, which shall take effect on January 1. In conjunction with this bulletin, the City Attorney shall by December 1 of each year publish and make available to Employers, in all languages spoken by more than five percent of the work force in the City, a notice suitable for posting by Employers in the workplace informing Employees of the current Minimum Wage and of their rights under this Chapter.. B. Every Employer, as defined in this Chapter, shall post in a conspicuous place at each workplace and job site where any Employee works the notice published each year by the City Attorney informing Employees of the current Minimum Wage and of their rights under this Chapter. Every Employer shall post such notices in any language spoken by at least five percent of the Employees at the workplace or job site. Every Employer shall also provide each Employee at the time of hire with the Employer's name, address, and telephone number in writing. C. Employers shall retain payroll records pertaining to Employees for a period of four years, and shall allow the City access to such records within 10 business days, with appropriate notice and at a mutually agreeable time, to monitor compliance with the requirements of this Chapter. Where an Employer does not maintain or retain adequate records documenting hours worked and wages paid or does not allow the City reasonable access to such records, the Employee's account of how much he or she was paid shall be presumed to be accurate, absent clear and convincing evidence otherwise.
123.07 RETALIATION PROHIBITED. It shall be unlawful for an Employer or any other party to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising rights protected under this Chapter. Rights protected under this Chapter include, but are not limited to: the right to file a complaint or inform any person about any party's alleged noncompliance with this Chapter; and the right to inform any person of his or her potential rights under this Chapter and to assist him or her in asserting such rights. Protections of this Chapter shall apply to any person who mistakenly, but in good faith, alleges noncompliance with this Chapter. Taking adverse action against a person within ninety (90) days of the person's exercise of rights protected under this Chapter shall raise a rebuttable presumption of having done so in retaliation for the exercise of such rights.
123.08 IMPLEMENTATION A. Guidelines. The City Attorney shall coordinate implementation and enforcement of this Chapter and may promulgate appropriate guidelines or rules for such purposes. Any guidelines or rules promulgated by the City Attorney shall have the force and effect of law and may be relied on by Employers, Employees and other parties to determine their rights and responsibilities under this Chapter. Any guidelines or rules may establish procedures for ensuring fair, efficient and cost-effective implementation of this Chapter, including supplementary procedures for helping to inform Employees of their rights under this Chapter, for monitoring Employer compliance with this Chapter, and for providing administrative hearings to determine whether an Employer or other person has violated the requirements of this Chapter. B. Reporting Violations. An Employee or any other person may report to the City Attorney in writing any suspected violation of this Chapter. The City Attorney shall encourage reporting pursuant to this subsection by keeping confidential, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable laws, the name and other identifying information of the Employee or person reporting the violation. Provided, however, that with the authorization of such person, the City Attorney may disclose his or her name and identifying information as necessary to enforce this Chapter or other employee protection laws. In order to further encourage reporting by Employees, if the City Attorney notifies an Employer that the City Attorney is investigating a complaint, the City Attorney shall require the Employer to post or otherwise notify its Employees, using a form provided by the City, that the City Attorney is conducting an investigation. C. Investigation. The City Attorney shall investigate all reported violations of this Chapter by an Employer or other person. The City Attorney shall have the authority to inspect workplaces, interview persons and subpoena books, papers, records, or other items relevant to the enforcement of this Chapter. D. Resolution. The City Attorney shall make every effort to resolve complaints in a timely manner, and shall take no more than one year to resolve any complaint. The failure of the City Attorney to meet this timeline shall not be grounds for closure or dismissal of the complaint.
123.09 ENFORCEMENT A. Where prompt compliance is not forthcoming, the City Attorney shall initiate one or more of the following enforcement actions to secure compliance:
1. The City Attorney may issue an Administrative Citation pursuant to 10.35 et seq. of the Code with a fine of not more than $50 for each day or portion thereof and for each Employee or person as to whom the violation occurred or continued.
2. The City Attorney may initiate a civil action for injunctive relief and damages and civil penalties in a court of competent jurisdiction. B. Any person aggrieved by a violation of this Chapter, any entity a member of which is aggrieved by a violation of this Chapter, or any other person or entity acting on behalf of the public as provided for under applicable state law, may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the Employer or other person violating this Chapter and, upon prevailing, shall be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees and costs and shall be entitled to such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to remedy the violation including, without limitation, the payment of any back wages owed, the payment of an additional sum as liquidated damages in the amount of $100 to each Employee or person whose rights under this Chapter were violated for each day that the violation occurred or continued, reinstatement in employment and/or injunctive relief. Provided, however, that any person or entity enforcing this Chapter on behalf of the public as provided for under applicable state law shall, upon prevailing, be entitled only to equitable, injunctive or restitutionary relief and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. C. This Section shall not be construed to limit an Employee's right to bring legal action for a violation of any other laws concerning wages, hours, or other standards or rights nor shall exhaustion of remedies under this Chapter be a prerequisite to the assertion of any right. D. Except where prohibited by state or federal law, City agencies or departments may revoke or suspend any registration certificates, permits or licenses held or requested by the Employer until such time as the violation is remedied. E. Relief. The remedies for violation of this Chapter include but are not limited to:
1. Reinstatement, the payment of back wages owed, and the payment of an additional sum as liquidated damages in the amount of $100 to each Employee or person whose rights under this Chapter were violated for each day or portion thereof that the violation occurred or continued, and fines imposed pursuant to other provisions of this Code or state law.
2. Interest on all due and unpaid wages at the rate of interest specified in subdivision (b) of Section 3289 of the California Civil Code, which shall accrue from the date that the wages were due and payable as provided in Part 1 (commencing with Section 200) of Division 2 of the California Labor Code, to the date the wages are paid in full.
3. Reimbursement of the City's administrative costs of enforcement and reasonable attorneys fees. F. Posted Notice. If a repeat violation of this Chapter has been finally determined, the City Attorney may require the Employer to post public notice of the Employer's failure to comply in a form determined by the City.
123.10 RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER REQUIREMENTS This Chapter provides for payment of a local Minimum Wage and shall not be construed to preempt or otherwise limit or affect the applicability of any other law, regulation, requirement, policy or standard that provides for payment of higher or supplemental wages or benefits, or that extends other protections.
123.11 APPLICATION OF MINIMUM WAGE TO WELFARE-TO-WORK PROGRAMS The Minimum Wage established pursuant to Section 123.04(B) of this Chapter shall apply to the Welfare-to-Work programs under which persons must perform work in exchange for receipt of benefits. Participants in Welfare-to-Work Programs shall not, during a given benefits period, be required to work more than a number of hours equal to the value of all cash benefits received during that period, divided by the Minimum Wage.
123.12 FEES Nothing herein shall preclude the City Council from imposing a cost recovery fee on all Employers to pay the cost of administering this Chapter.
123.13 AMENDMENT BY THE CITY COUNCIL. This Chapter may be amended by the City Council without a vote of the people as regards the implementation or enforcement thereof, in order to achieve the purposes of this Chapter, but not with regard to lessening the substantive requirements of the Chapter or its scope of coverage. SECTION 2. Effective Date. This ordinance shall become effective on the ninetieth (90th) day after it is certified. This ordinance is intended to have prospective effect only. SECTION 3. Severability. If any part or provision of this ordinance, or the application of this ordinance to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance, including the application of such part or provisions to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected by such a holding and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, the provisions of this ordinance are severable.[2]

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