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General Information
General Information

Special Meeting Annotated eAgenda
November 10, 2015


Click on the linked agenda item titles below for background materials/reports. Adopted Resolutions and Ordinances (second reading) are available via Records Online (http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=4222) as soon as they are finalized.


  • Resolutions and Ordinances are subject to amendment, rescission or repeal, or readoption in whole or in part. Additional research may be necessary to verify the completeness of the legislative history. To research the Berkeley Municipal Code, visit: http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/BMC 

  • These documents are presented in Adobe Acrobat PDF*, and will open in a new browser window. Some files may exceed 1MB in size. All items are available for review at the City Clerk Department, (510) 981-6900.

*To read PDF files, download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you are unable to access .pdf documents online, please contact us via email (clerk@CityofBerkeley.info), telephone (510) 981-6900, or TDD (510) 981-6903 so that we can provide an alternate format.



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

7:00 P.M.

Longfellow Middle School Auditorium – 1500 Derby Street, Berkeley, CA  94703

Tom Bates, Mayor




Preliminary Matters

Roll Call: 7:04 p.m.

Present: Maio, Moore, Anderson, Arreguin, Capitelli, Wengraf, Worthington, Droste, Bates.     

Absent: None.        

Recess 7:38 p.m. – 7:40 p.m.

Public Comment - Limited to items on this agenda only - 98 speakers.

Action Calendar

  1. a. Revisions to Minimum Wage Ordinance B.M.C 13.99 (Continued from September 15, 2015)
    From: Commission on Labor
    Recommendation: Adopt first reading of an Ordinance amending Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.99 that will ensure the Berkeley Minimum Wage Ordinance is successful in promoting and protecting the rights and the individual self-reliance of working people in Berkeley by raising the minimum wage to a living wage, adding an annual cost of living adjustment, and granting adequate paid sick leave to all workers.
    Financial Implications: None
    Contact: Delfina Geiken, Commission Secretary, 981-5400

b. Proposed Amendments to the Minimum Wage Ordinance; Amending Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.99 (Continued from September 15, 2015)
From: City Manager
Recommendation: Review and consider information regarding the activities and costs associated with implementing and enforcing the Commission on Labor's proposed amendments to the Minimum Wage Ordinance (MWO), including the potential impact of the proposed amendments on the City's minimum wage employees, employers, non-profit organizations and community-based organizations, on-call workers and youth training program workers, and either:

1. Adopt first reading of an Ordinance amending Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.99, which includes staff-recommended revisions to the Commission's proposed Ordinance;
2. Refer the MWO back to the City Manager for further analysis and revisions.

Financial Implications: Staff time
Contact: Kelly Wallace, Health, Housing and Community Services, 981-5400

c. Paid Sick Leave Ordinance; Adding Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.100
From: City Manager
Recommendation: Review and consider the attached Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (PSLO), including the potential benefits and impacts of the ordinance on employees, employers, and the community and either:

1. Adopt first reading of an Ordinance adding Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.100;
2. Postpone adoption of the Ordinance until businesses have had a chance to assess the impact of the new state Paid Sick Leave law on business operations.

Financial Implications: See report
Contact: Kelly Wallace, Health, Housing and Community Services, 981-5400

Action: M/S/C (Bates/Maio) to accept supplemental material from Councilmembers Capitelli, Droste, Maio, and Moore on Item 1.
Vote: All Ayes.

Recess 8:53 p.m. – 9:07 p.m.

Action: 98 speakers. M/S/Failed (Worthington/Arreguin) to direct staff to return with two options for the increase, 1) the increase as proposed in the supplemental item, and 2) an increase for large business to $13 in 2016, and $15 in 2017; and an increase for small business to $13.25 in 2017, $14.00 in 2018, and $15.00 in 2019.
Vote: Ayes – Anderson, Arreguin, Worthington; Noes – None; Abstain – Maio, Moore, Capitelli, Wengraf, Droste, Bates.

Action: M/S/C (Capitelli/Maio) to adopt the supplemental item as submitted (see below).
Vote: Ayes – Maio, Moore, Capitelli, Wengraf, Worthington, Droste, Bates; Noes – Anderson, Arreguin.


Approve in concept and direct the City Manager to return with ordinance language amending Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 13.99 to raise the minimum wage to keep pace with the cost of living and median wage. As it is currently written, the current version of the Minimum Wage Ordinance lacks a long-term solution to the fundamental problem of working people living in poverty due to stagnant wages. This proposal would continue increases to the minimum wage after the currently scheduled rate increases through 2016.[1] This proposal increases the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2018 and offers a slightly slower phase-in for small businesses. 


Increase the Minimum Wage

Table 1: Proposed Minimum Wage Revisions for the City of Berkeley


Current Berkeley wage schedule

Small business wage schedule

Yearly increase

Large business wage schedule

Yearly increase





























+ local CPI






+ local CPI


[1] After 2020, we recommend an automatic cost of living adjustment based on the Bay Area CPI.

In “Designing Thoughtful Minimum Wage Policy at the State and Local Levels”, economist Arindrajit Dube’s recommends using median wage, local costs of living, and regional coordination as instruments to set an appropriate level of the minimum wage. (Dube, 2014). By raising Berkeley’s minimum wage to an amount that takes into account regional wage schedules, the potential negative impacts–cross-jurisdictional competition and business relocations–are reduced significantly (Dube, 2014). 

This proposal mirrors approaches from Emeryville, Los Angeles, and Seattle in that we have recommended a tiered approach. The rationale for such an approach is to address concerns surrounding the livelihood of small businesses which make up over half of our businesses.

We also request that staff returns to City Council in 2019 to present recommendations to merge the smaller business minimum wage with the large business minimum wage.

Incorporate a Cost of Living Adjustment
The Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect on October 1, 2014 and provides a minimum pay requirement for all employees working at least two hours per week within the geographic limits of Berkeley. As of October 1, 2015, the minimum wage increased to $11.00. The Minimum Wage Ordinance stipulates an increase to $12.53 on October 1, 2016, but does not provide changes after that date. The Minimum Wage Ordinance provides a floor wage, not a ceiling, for compensation and currently does not increase annually with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). We recommend adding an automatic Cost of Living Adjustment based on the local Consumer Price Index after the specified minimum wage floors are reached.

Define Small Business Size
For the purpose of the minimum wage schedule, we propose expanding the small business definition to 55 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) who work for compensation. We also don’t want to define small businesses according to establishment size because many large multinational firms have several small establishments. Therefore, we recommend using firm size as the major determinant. In determining firm size, franchises must be counted at the national or multinational firm size.[3] Notwithstanding the above, nonprofits shall be subject to the small business wage schedule.

Direct Service Charges to Worker
This proposal also recommends that service charges should be directed to workers in hospitality (food services, hotels, etc.) businesses. Some businesses charge customers a service fee. In many instances, this fee is presented by the employer or perceived by the customer as replacing the optional gratuity. While California labor law precludes distributing tips to anyone except the service provider (typically the server), there are no such limits on service charges. We recommend staff create a policy to ensure that service charges are directed to the employee either in the form of cash or some other benefit, so long as it directly benefits the employee. The service fees should not be used in substitute of an appropriate minimum wage. Furthermore, for employers who charge a service fee, there shall be no reduction in wages or existing benefits.

Special Cases
In order to address small business concerns, we recommend a ramp up period for smaller businesses under 55 employees. Additionally, we want to ensure that our youth (21 and under) have access to job training as well.  Training wages should be no less than 80% of the minimum wage. Youth-in-training programs shall be clarified to specify its application only to temporary job-training positions. Temporary is defined as no more than 1,040 working hours in any 365-day period. Maintain existing job-training exemption provided that there is a set duration not to exceed one year, stated learning objectives and skills training, and close supervision and guidance. Individuals younger than 21 cannot do the same work while getting paid less. 

The exemption for on-call workers should be removed in its entirety. Additionally, staff should clarify the exemption for collective-bargaining agreements to properly reference federal law.


In regions such as the Bay Area, where the cost of living is extraordinarily higher than the national average, municipalities like Berkeley have adopted local minimum wage standards that are significantly higher than both the federal and state minimum wage requirements. Although Berkeley has already taken a progressive step forward, we can do more. 

In devising a thoughtful minimum wage policy, we have analyzed the benefits and impacts to both workers and businesses and have consulted with dozens of concerned stakeholders, leading economists, union organizers, affected workers, and local business owners. The Councilmembers who have written this proposal represent a wide cross-section of our community–we have worked minimum wage jobs, owned small businesses, joined unions, and share the desire to raise wages while valuing our community’s economic diversity. 

The policy objectives of the revisions are as follows:

1. Expand the wage schedule in order to make the minimum wage keep pace with the cost of living and the median wage.

2. Include an automatic cost of living adjustment based on the local Consumer Price Index in order to keep the policy in step with the regional economy.

3. Establish clear rules and regulations around service charges in order to provide clear guidelines for local business owners and to ensure workers benefit.

4. Recommend and pursue regional coordination. We recommend that Berkeley City Council writes letters to State Senator Loni Hancock, State Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, and the City Council and mayors of Alameda, Albany, Lafayette, Oakland, Orinda, Piedmont, and Richmond urging a regional approach and asking them to match our commitment to raising the minimum wage to $15. We also want to urge local elected officials to convene a meeting to address minimum wage.

In September of 2015, UC’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment released a prospective impact study on Contra Costa’s proposed minimum wage increase to $15 in 2020.[4] This study is applicable to Berkeley for several reasons. First, the median annual earnings for workers in Contra Costa County and Berkeley are comparable. Secondly, the self-sufficiency hourly wage is almost identical. This research, like most minimum wage research, indicates that raising the minimum wage in an appropriate manner has a positive net benefit on all workers, particularly women and people of color. Additionally, minimum wage increases tend to affect those ages thirty and older and not teenagers (Cooper, 2013). Previous economic research has found little measurable effect on employment or hours from minimum wage policies. Most of the costs can be absorbed through reduced worker turnover, improved worker performance, and incremental increases to prices. Operational costs and restaurant prices would increase slightly (Reich, Jacobs, Bernhardt, & Perry, 2014). Prices would also likely increase in industries that typically employ low-wage workers (Dube, 2014).

Action: M/S/C (Bates/Capitelli) to table Item 1.c. Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to January 2016.
Vote: Ayes – Moore, Capitelli, Wengraf, Droste, Bates; Noes – Arreguin, Worthington; Abstain – Anderson; Absent – Maio.

Councilmember Maio absent 10:15 p.m. – 10:22 p.m. 

    2.  Berkeley Fair Elections Public Campaign Financing Ballot Measure (Continued from September 15, 2015)

From: Fair Campaign Practices Commission
Recommendation: Consider the public funding proposal from MapLight and the League of Women Voters (dated January 5, 2015) for possible further    consideration for the November 2016 ballot.
Financial Implications: None
Contact: Savith Iyengar, Commission Secretary, 981-6950
Action: M/S/C (Bates/Maio) to suspend the rules and extend the meeting to 11:15pm
Vote: Ayes – Maio, Anderson, Arreguin, Capitelli, Worthington, Droste, Bates; Noes – None; Abstain – Wengraf; Absent – Moore 

Councilmember Moore absent 10:47 p.m. – 10:50 p.m.

Action: 17 speakers. M/S/C (Bates/Moore) to refer to the Fair Campaign Practices Commission to merge the amendments submitted by the Berkeley Fair Elections Coalition regarding limiting the offices covered, allowing contributions from outside Berkeley with certain restrictions, a built in review of the program with the original draft of the proposed measure, and an increase to the matching cap for Mayor to $120,000 and return to Council with a new draft in February 2016.
Vote: All Ayes.


Action: M/S/C (Bates/Capitelli) to adjourn the meeting.
Vote: All Ayes

Adjourned at 11:12 p.m.


Council rules limit action on Communications to referral to the City Manager and/or Boards and Commissions for investigation and/or recommendations. All communications submitted to Council are public record. Communications are not published directly to the City’s website. Copies of individual communications are available for viewing at the City Clerk Department and through Records Online. 



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