Sunday, April 26, 2015

Raise-the-wage campaign eyes fall 2015 ballot

From page A1 | August 19, 2014 |

With money and more time, the leaders of a campaign to raise Davis’ minimum wage from $9 to $15 per hour are looking to the November 2015 ballot as their date with economic destiny.

According to campaign finance reports submitted July 31, they have more than $10,000 in their campaign coffers so far, but Sean Raycraft, a local Safeway clerk and one of the campaign directors, said the group is taking it slow in hopes of collecting $40,000 in campaign cash, 8,000 signatures and time to have a better chance of success than their original plan for the November 2014 ballot.

Community organizer Bernie Goldsmith is no longer a part of the campaign, Raycraft said, for reasons he would not disclose. Goldsmith said in an email that he is no longer affiliated with the group.

The Raise the Wage campaign, as it calls itself, was gathering hundreds signatures each week in the spring when its volunteers were active. With UC Davis students on summer break, organizers have been biding their time, waiting for students, and Davis life, to come back to full force in the fall.

According to campaign finance documents, the campaign raised $5,100 in monetary contributions from four sources by June 30 and a $5,000 loan from campaign treasurer Alan Pryor. Pryor also gave $100 in a cash donation. Donations of $1,000 each came from two unions — UFCW8, which represents local Safeway workers, and United Auto Workers Region 5 — while Raycraft himself boosted the group’s treasury with a $3,000 donation.

“We’re not campaign professionals; we’re ordinary people,” he said, adding that no one in the campaign is making money off of it.

“We’re doing this because of social justice,” Raycraft said.

He also said he’s working on the campaign because he knows what it feels like to be part of the working poor, working more than one job to make ends meet or living in cramped conditions. It’s a definition he says more and more people in Davis fit.

Indeed, U.S. Census figures in 2012 listed 26.4 percent of Davis residents as living below the poverty level, compared with a 15.3 percent average statewide. What effect the UCD student population has on those figures is not clear.

Raycraft said those figures, as well as people with whom campaign volunteers have come into contact, show that economic stability is “just not happening” for an increasing number of workers in Davis.

The campaign is based on an economic theory that low-wage workers with better pay will buy more goods and use more services, thus generating a better local economy through more sales. Plus, it will add wage pressure to workers who now earn at or just above the $15 pay line. A UCD study in the works analyzing the effect of the proposed minimum wage on the Davis economy, Raycraft said.

But wage pressure is exactly one of the reasons why local small business owners are against the idea.

Jeremy Brooks, owner of Brooks Painting, said in addition to increased costs from paying his most inexperienced workers a higher minimum wage, he believes his other workers, who earn from $15 to more than $20 an hour, also will want raises because the wage floor will shoot up.

That, he said in April, will drown his business.

“I battle the guy who paints out of the back of their truck, doesn’t pay taxes and does things under the table,” he said.

In an April op-ed piece published in The Davis Enterprise, Jeff and Laura Ambrose, owners of Woodstock’s Pizza Inc., said a rise in the minimum wage would cause price inflation across the business spectrum. Plus, small mom-and-pop employers can’t afford it.

“Profit margins are very thin for many companies, especially in the industries that tend to hire entry-level employees,” they wrote. “Employers will have no choice but to increase prices and/or downsize through automation.”

Raycraft responds to these criticisms by saying that increased sales to customers who are better-paid will solve these problems.

One other point of contention is that small business owners see minimum wage as a starting point for the vast majority of employees. But Raycraft says some Davis workers are being forced to live their lives in perpetuity in low-wage work.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

That’s exactly what local voters may have to decide next year.

— Reach Dave Ryan at [email protected] or call 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery



    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery





    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery



    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6



    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8