San Jose

For Some Families in San Jose, Measure E is a Matter of Survival

Proposal would force employers to give part-time workers more hours rather than hire more; businesses say that will hurt the economy

Jobs will be one of the big issues San Jose voters will tackle on Election Day, and Measure E promises to be a divisive one.

The proposal is meant to give more hours to part time workers. Businesses say it will damage the local economy. But for some families, it is a matter of survival.

One East San Jose woman, Alejandra Mejia, is a mother of three and said over the past 10 years, she was offered only part-time hours as a fast food worker. She said it's been difficult making ends meet.

"It's really hard," Mejia said. "There's no way you feed your kids with less than $100 bi-weekly."

Mejia favors Measure E because it would force employers to offer more hours to employees working less than 40 hours a week before the employer hires additional part-timers.

"They tell you they don't have hours for you, but you see they are actually hiring more people," Mejia said.

The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce has campaigned against the measure, saying it could hurt businesses.

"Measure E doesn't really create any new jobs, it doesn't create any new working hours," chamber spokesman Victor Gomez said.

Gomez feels the measure could cause unemployment to rise rapidly among San Jose part-time workers at various companies.

"It's going to shift all of the hours over to 28,500 employees, and the rest of those, which is roughly 40,000 employees - part timers - are all going to lose their jobs," he said.

For part-time workers barely surviving, they believe Measure E is worth it to help some families move out of poverty while delivering a message to those wanting this measure not to pass.

"We would like them to live on less than we do and see if they could survive," Mejia said.

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