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Labor Group Says ConVis Does Not Want To Pay Living Wage

Evening Edition

Above: Corrine Wilson, policy director of Center On Policy Initiatives, talks to KPBS about San Diego's living wage law.

Aired 7/5/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guest

Corrine Wilson, Policy Director, Center On Policy Initiatives

Transcript

Aired 7/5/12 on KPBS News.

A local labor union said Thursday that the private company recently given control of bookings at the Convention Center does not want to pay their workers the city-mandated living wage.

A local labor union said Thursday that the private company recently given control of bookings at the Convention Center does not want to pay their workers the city-mandated living wage.

The city of San Diego requires all companies with annual city contracts worth $25,000 or more to pay a “living wage,” which currently is set at $13.77 an hour. California's minimum wage is $8 an hour.

This living wage rule would apply to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, or ConVis, a private company that was awarded a four-year contract with the city to provide sales and marketing services for the Convention Center.

But a clause in ConVis’ contract said the company would be exempt from the living wage ordinance. While the clause was later struck from the contract, Lorena Gonzalez with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council said it’s still a bad sign.

“What we’re concerned about is, on the very first action that they were putting forward, the first thing that they tried to do is exempt themselves from the living wage,” she said. “The fact that they didn’t get the legalities right I think is secondary to the fact that their intentions are very clear. “

Corrine Wilson, the policy director for the Center On Policy Initiatives, told KPBS ConVis cannot be exempt from the law.

“This is the law,” she said. “This was intended to ensure jobs that receive public money do not create poverty jobs. This is the law and it needs to be upheld.”

Wilson said the minimum wage keeps people in poverty. She said in 2010, 17.4 percent of county residents were living in poverty.

“If you’re making the living wage, that’s enough to pull a family of four out of poverty,” she said.

But while Wilson said the living wage is enough to support a single person, it is not enough to support a family of four. But, she said, her organization is hearing from workers that it makes a difference.

She added that the city did a survey asking living wage employers how they felt about paying the living wage, and the employers said they’ve seen an increase and improvement in the quality of service they’ve been able to provide and a decrease in employee absences.

Representatives from ConVis were asked to appear on KPBS Midday Edition, but were not able to attend.

Comments

Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 5, 2012 at noon ― 2 years, 5 months ago

The whole country needs our government to adopt Living Wages versus Minimum Wages. No one can live on the latter.

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Avatar for user 'castlelrd'

castlelrd | July 5, 2012 at 7:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 5 months ago

How about asking someone (other than this guest who is clearly an advocate of the "living wage" requirement) how much this requirement costs the San Diego tax payer? How much does it depress employment in San Diego, by raising labor costs making some projects too costly to proceed?

In other words, how about a balanced examination of "living wage"?

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