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Union Announces Campaign To Increase Minimum Wage In San Diego

San Diego is one of seven cities chosen by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations as places to focus a campaign to raise the minimum wage, the labor organization announced Wednesday.

The announcement about the group's 2015 Raising Wages Campaign came at the end of a national summit on the issue in Washington, D.C. The campaign will also focus on Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

Last year, the City Council voted to raise San Diego's minimum wage incrementally to $11.50 an hour, above the current state hourly standard of $9. But opponents in the business community collected enough petition signatures to force the issue to a public vote. The wage hike is suspended until a vote can be held, likely next year.


"I appreciate the AFL-CIO joining my efforts to help more San Diegans make ends meet," said Councilman Todd Gloria, the chief proponent of San Diego's proposed pay hike. "Together we will make sure that voters understand the importance of passing a higher minimum wage for our city in June 2016."

An AFL-CIO statement said its campaign will "bring important energy, ideas and resources to critical battles." Labor groups also plan to meet in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — the first four presidential primary states — to push for minimum wage increases.

Organized labor has been pushing for a national $15 an hour minimum wage, a figure that was adopted in San Francisco and Seattle.

Business leaders say such an increase would force them to increase prices of their products and services to customers, and either lay off employees or reduce their hours.

In the San Diego debate — affecting just one city — business owners said higher wages would leave them at a competitive disadvantage with firms outside city limits.