Richmond City Council on Tuesday voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $12.30 per hour by 2017.
The council voted 6-1 in favor of the hike in the first reading of the ordinance. If the ordinance passes a second reading next month, the minimum wage in Richmond would increase in phases.
The current minimum of $8, which is also the state’s minimum, would rise to $9 this summer. It would go up to $9.60 in 2015, and then to $11.52 in 2016. Beyond 2017, the minimum wage would reflect cost of living adjustments.
San Francisco’s minimum wage is currently the region’s highest at $10.74, while San Jose’s is $10.15.
The council had initially considered placing the minimum wage hike on the November ballot. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin decided the increase should come sooner.
“It’s clear we want a minimum wage increase,” she said. “Why not have it come into effect sooner rather than later? Why wait till November?”
Councilman Tom Butt voted against the plan, not because he doesn’t want a minimum wage hike but because he feels council hasn’t done enough research and public outreach on the topic.
Opponents of the plan fear the wage hikes will cause hiring freezes and increase unemployment in Richmond.