San Jose’s minimum wage rose to $10 an hour this week and now one of the Bay Area’s largest social service organizations is feeling the impact.
“When the ballot initiative came on and made it ten dollars an hour, it made it difficult for us to then bring everybody to 9 dollars an hour,” said Michael Fox of Goodwill of Silicon Valley.
Goodwill of Silicon Valley was planning on giving all of their 620 South Bay employees a bump in pay this year, but when voters passed Measure D, increasing the minimum wage only in San Jose, plans changed.
The 180 employees who work outside San Jose ended up with a 50 cents an hour raise while their San Jose counterparts got a $2 jump.
“I’ve met with most employees in the organization who are non San Jose personally and let them know the news of what we were going to do,” says Fox who also let them know that it is his goal to eventually get them up to a ten dollar an hour wage.
The wage hike in San Jose is costing the organization $1.3 million, which it hopes to make up in revenue, in part, by increasing prices at its retail stores.
Fox said they will have to make it work since they’re not willing to cut any community support services. He also says it’s important to keep the employees they have.
“I feel blessed to have this opportunity to be here,” says Antonio Galeana, a Goodwill employee.
Some workers are on probation or parole, working to improve their lives so they can potentially give back.
“Since I’ve been here I am really looking forward to the future you know?.” says Dondie Wilks, a Goodwiil employee.
Workers say they are looking forward to getting their first paychecks with the increase next Friday.
Goodwill employee Michael Nino says, “It puts extra money in your pocket that you could use.”
“I know that per month per pay period about 21 days in a month working, so that’s probably going to be a 300-something increase and that’s really going to free up a lot more," Wilks said. “That is really going to help me just get the things that I need. Yea, you can really use that. That kind of money you can really use.”