The minimum wage debate has kicked into high gear in Emeryville, Calif., as workers there say $16.30 an hour is barely enough to survive in the Bay Area and business owners struggle with paying out the highest rate in the country, The Wall Street Journal reports.
In Emeryville, the hometown of Pixar Animation Studios, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,840 and the median home price is more than $560,000. A salad costs more than $15.
The city adopted the $16.30 minimum wage on July 1. It was previously $15.
“There is a tipping point,” said Erik Hansen, the owner of Moomie’s Café y Empanadas in Emeryville.
“We may have the highest minimum wage, but I don’t think the people in Emeryville will feel like paying the highest prices in the country,” he said.
Hansen is debating raising sandwich prices by as much as $1.50 or laying off one of his three employees.
Emeryville City Council passed an amendment Monday that would keep the minimum wage at $15 for restaurant workers in establishments with 55 employees or less, but that decision caused outrage and union representatives urged the council to repeal the measure.
It did on Tuesday.
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