Our Campaign


(l-r)San Jose State University students Brian Li, Patrick Quyo,Brooke Wayne, Albert Perez, Elisha St. Laurent, Labor Council leader Cindy Chavez, Prof. Scott Myers Lipton, Sacred Heart Exec. Dir. Poncho Guevara, SBLC Organizing Dir. Derecka Mehrens, Leila McCabe

San Jose voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to increase the minimum wage in the city from $8 to $10 an hour. Measure D drew 58% of the vote in a race where opponents outspent supporters by more than 2 to 1. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce pledged to raise more than a million dollars to keep businesses from having to pay their minimum wage workers $2 more an hour, but San Jose residents proved the increase was the right thing to do.

San Jose State Sociology students led by their Professor Scott Myers Lipton, came up with the idea and quickly drew the support of labor, non-profits and community leaders to bring the initiative to the ballot box.

“This is a victory for tens of thousands of hard working San Jose residents,” said Cindy Chavez, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council. “The students who took on this challenge should be extremely proud of themselves for standing up for what’s right.”

“I am a student and a single mother,” said Elisha St. Laurent, president of CAFE J, a San Jose State student economic justice organization and one of the sociology students involved in the conception of Measure D. “Because of this measure, I’ll be able to afford better food and new shoes for my son. These are things that he needs that I can’t always afford on $8 an hour pay.”

San Jose joins San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Santa Fe and Albuquerque among the cities that have a citywide minimum wage above the state minimum. Measure D will go into effect in early 2013.

Here’s What We’re Fighting For

Civil Rights Activist/Olympic Medalist John Carlos Stands Up for Measure D

Olympic Medalist John Carlos endorsed Measure D during a visit to his alma mater, San Jose State University Oct. 17

Former Olympic sprinter John Carlos, whose likeness is immortalized in a statue on the San Jose State University campus, showed his support for low wage workers by endorsing Measure D. Carlos, along with classmate and fellow sprinter Tommy Smith, stood for civil rights with fists raised during the 1968 Olympic medal ceremony in Mexico City and the two men became instant icons for justice.
Carlos visited the campus October 16 in honor of “Legacy Week.” He and Smith have continued their leadership in the fight for equal rights and justice for people of color across the country. Today Carlos works as a student counselor in Southern California.

Chamber Locks Out Faith Leaders

NBC Bay Area news crew interviews Reverend John Freesemann
of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church, as Father Bill Leininger looks on.

October 11, 2102

Local faith leaders who arrived at the Chamber of Commerce on a rainy afternoon yesterday were met with a locked door during business hours. The small multi-faith contingent of religious leaders was hoping to speak with Chamber President Matt Mahood to convince him to drop his opposition of Measure D, the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in San Jose.

Read the full story here.

USC Student Newspaper Urges L.A.
to Follow in San Jose’s Footsteps

By Mat Goldstein, The Daily Trojan

In the fall semester of 2010, a San Jose State University sociology class created an idea to benefit their community: to raise the city’s minimum wage.

After gathering more than 40,000 signatures, the students’ proposal became Measure D, an official measure on the November ballot. The citizens of San Jose now have a chance to enact this significant legislation.

As USC students, we are uniquely positioned in a community that is also significantly affected by minimum-wage legislation.

The minimum wage has already been increased in San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Santa Fe, N.M. — students should follow San Jose’s example and support and lobby for a similar measure in Los Angeles.

Measure D would increase San Jose’s minimum wage by 25 percent, from $8 to $10. With endorsements from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a host of California assembly members, it is entirely possible that the wage increase will be approved.

Read the full story here.


A Message from the Professor
Whose Class Got Raise the Wage
Off the Ground

It is not often that we can help 40,000 low wage workers, but that is exactly what we can do this November 6th by helping to pass Measure D, which will increase the minimum wage increase from $8 to $10.

It is our belief that people who work hard and play by the rules deserve to make a fair wage. Unfortunately, $8 an hour is not a fair wage due to the high cost of living in San Jose, where a minimum wage worker’s salary of $1,280 per month doesn’t even cover the cost of the average SJ rent of $1,800, let alone provide for food and other necessities.

In order to pass Measure D, supporters will be phone banking on Sunday-Thursday at 5:30-8:30 pm at the South Bay Labor Council (2102 Almaden Road, #107). We will also be precinct walking (going door to door) on Saturdays from 10 am-2 pm (meet at Labor Council).

Let’s set our minimum wage closer to a level that reflects our values and our sense of fairness. It is time for $10!

Dr. Myers-Lipton
Professor, SJSU Sociology Department

YES on Measure D

• People who work hard and play by the rules deserve to make a fair wage

• Allowing low wage workers to earn enough to support themselves and their families is the right thing to do

• A worker who brings home $1380 a month can’t even afford the average rent in San Jose which is $1800 a month, let alone provide for food and other necessities.

• People who work hard for a living should not be forced to rely on government subsidies like food stamps and Medicaid when they should be able to provide for themselves with a livable wage.


SJSV ChamberPAC Event Raises $300,000 to Fight Minimum Wage Ballot Measure

SJSV Chamber President Matt Mahood pressures Justice Summer intern to stop talking to Chamber BBQ guests

August 23, 2012
Two dozen Justice Summer interns with Working Partnerships USA greeted guests of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce “ChamberPAC” Bar-B-Que Thursday night, asking for their support to raise the minimum wage in San Jose from $8 to $10 an hour. Chamber President Matt Mahood was visibly upset to see the young social justice activists, and ask San Jose Police officers patrolling the event throw the interns off the property. Police acknowledged the Raise the Wage supporters were within their rights to greet guests entering the event from the sidewalk.

The ChamberPAC reportedly raised $300,000 at the event, much of which is expected to go toward fighting the November 6 ballot measure. An online business newsletter reported the Chamber has a fundraising goal of $1.5 million to defeat the proposal to give low wage workers a $2 dollar raise.

“One man going to the event pulled out a thick wad of bills and tried to give me $2,” said Diana Crumedy, a volunteer supporting the interns’ action, who did not accept the money. “It was insulting to see he doesn’t get that people should be treated with respect,” she said.

Some interns noted, however, that not all chamber guests oppose the measure as they accepted stickers supporting the wage increase, which they wore into the event.