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July 29, 2014

Oakland Nonprofits Seek to Slow Minimum-Wage Push

An Oakland, Calif., referendum on raising the city's minimum wage from $9 to $12.25 an hour is raising concerns among social-service charities, which fear the hike will force large-scale cutbacks in job-training programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

If approved in November, the Lift Up Oakland ballot measure would raise minimum pay for all workers on March 1. Nonprofit leaders are backing a competing plan, set to go before the City Council on Tuesday, that would allow charities and small businesses to implement the increase more gradually.

Nonprofit officials say they support a higher minimum wage but that an all-at-once increase would force donor- and grant-dependent groups with limited resources to slash slots for paid training programs aimed at helping needy teens, parolees, and other at-risk populations find long-term employment. Backers of the alternative hope it will sap support for Lift Up Oakland, which if approved by voters would become city law even if the council passes its own wage plan.