In partnership with North Bay Organizing Project, we are proud to announce the formation of a 13-point policy agenda for the County of Sonoma that will ensure an equitable response to the COVID-19 crisis that puts the collective needs of our community first.
Just as our fires brought to the surface the vast inequalities in Sonoma County, so too has the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than corporate bailouts and commitments to simply not evict families ‘for now’ we need a real community bailout. One in five Sonoma County residents are living in poverty1 and hundreds of thousands are now out of work. Members of our community need to know they will not lose work permanently only to come out of this pandemic owing thousands of dollars to landlords and banks.
We need paid sick leave for workers, we need to ensure laid off workers are guaranteed their jobs back when re-hiring begins again, and workers need real assurances from our elected leaders that they will not be put into enormous debt while billionaire corporations get bailed out. To accomplish this, we must work together. With NBOP we brought 10 organizations together to build this platform and we ask you to join us in passing these policies.
We hope you are all safe and staying as healthy as possible. It’s a scary time right now but less so if you stay informed and aware. We wanted to let you know that we are staying on top of the impacts COVID-19 is having on workers and we wanted to share some resources and information for anyone that may be impacted or know someone who is. We are working to spread information about Governor Newsom's expansion of unemployment insurance for workers, identify any employers who aren't following the law on paid sick time, and help provide support for undocumented workers who may be losing wages and aren't eligible for unemployment.
Please download this pdf with resources for sharing widely.
In addition, we thank UNITE HERE for sharing the following fact sheets on the Emergency Relief for both workers and businesses. Feel free to download and share:
North Bay Jobs with Justice Supporting Kincade Fire Victims
Executive Director Mara Ventura is helping run the coordination and dispatching of bilingual volunteers to evacuation shelters in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Marin, and others as they open if necessary (Napa coordinated by local Sonoma/Napa organizations).
If you are fluent in languages other than Spanish and are willing to volunteer to support families who have evacuated from the Kincade fire please email [email protected] with your Name, Phone number, day/time availability, and locations you're able to support and you will be added to the master list for shelter support.
Part of this work is to support Healdsburg Corazon with their Unidad y Comunidad fire relief fund and to support UndocuFund, a fire relief fund for undocumented families affected by the fires. UndocuFund is a project of North Bay Jobs with Justice, Graton Day Labor Center, and North Bay Organizing Project started in the wake of the 2017 Tubbs fires. Please donate to UndocuFund.org today!
Using our report from the UC Berekely Labor Center that we commissioned in 2018, ("The State of Working Sonoma 2018") the Sebastopol City Council held a study session in November 2018 - the first city to do so!! - to examine the impacts of moving to a $15/hour minimum wage in Sebastopol, which would ensure employers with 50 employees or more pay $15 hour by or before Jan of 2020 (with a cost of living adjustment every year after and paid sick days). Since then, study sessions have been held by the cities of Cotati, Sonoma, Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Novato.
This is part of our regional Raise the Wage!campaign where city councils across Sonoma and Marin counties are using our study to help raise wages. Sonoma City Council and Petaluma City Council were the first to pass our minimum wage ordinances in their cities. We continue to work with the city councils of the remaining cities and we have formed committees of volunteers in most cities who are working to help us pass the minimum wage ordinances. If you think your city council needs to be included or you want to help ensure this ordinance is passed in your city, email us at [email protected]
Click HERE to go to our Raise the Wage Campaign page for petitions and more information.
SANTA ROSA CITY COUNCIL PASSES OUR $15 MINIMUM WAGE ORDINANCE IN A UNANIMOUS VOTE!
Starting in July 2020, small businesses must pay all workers $14 per hour and all others must begin paying their workers $15 an hour!
Thanks to everyone who came out to show your support for raising the minimum wage for thousands of workers in Santa Rosa. We packed the council chamber and the City Council had clearly done their homework on this important issue. See photos HERE!
Thank you Santa Rosa City Council for taking a bold and principled stand for the most vulnerable workers in our community!
In July 2020, more than 9,000 workers in Novato will see raises due to Novato's Minimum wage ordinance passed the evening of Sept 24th. Many thanks to the volunteers who helped make this a successful effort and much gratitude to Mayor Lucan and Councilmembers Eckland and Drew for their support and their votes!
Raise the Wage Campaign is in the NEWS! ...
Labor Day 2019: The Fight for $15 in the North Bay and Beyond By Martin J. Bennett Sonoma County Gazette September 2019
Across the USA, 45 cities and counties have approved local minimum wage laws to address soaring inequality. Twenty-six are in high-cost California coastal counties and the Bay Area: San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
North Bay cities are joining the "Fight for $15" movement. Sonoma approved the first citywide minimum wage law in June 2019 and Petaluma passed the second in July...
Novato, Santa Rosa, Cotati, and Sebastopol are considering $15 citywide minimum wage ordinances and will likely adopt legislation comparable to Petaluma’s.
The Alliance for A Just Recovery, a coalition of every major labor, environmental, immigrant rights, and faith-based organization in Sonoma County, leads the campaign to introduce minimum legislation in all Sonoma and Marin jurisdictions to establish a regional minimum wage higher than the state’s.
Día del Trabajo 2019: ¡Suban el Salario Mínimo! Por Martin J. Bennett Más allá de Chron 2 de septiembre de 2019
Cuarenta y cinco ciudades y municipios de los Estados Unidos han aprobado salarios mínimos locales para corregir la creciente desigualdad. 26 de éstos se encuentran en municipios costeños y del Área de la Bahía de California con altos costos de vida: San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Ángeles, y San Diego.
Las ciudades del Norte de la Bahía se están sumando al movimiento “Luche por $15”. En el mes de junio de 2019 la ciudad de Sonoma fue la primera en aprobar una ley de salario mínimo para toda su jurisdicción, mientras que en el mes de julio se agregó la ciudad de Petaluma.
Why Business Should Support $15 Minimum Wage By Martin J. Bennett North Bay Biz August 2019
Cities across the North Bay are considering legislation to establish a $15/ per hour minimum wage by 2020—three years earlier than the state minimum wage is gradually phased in to $15 for all employers.
This campaign to raise the regional wage floor follows comparable efforts in other high-cost coastal California counties. San Francisco, Berkeley, and Emeryville approved $15/per hour wage by 2018. San Jose and seven other Santa Clara cities will do the same by 2019. Four San Mateo County cities, and the cities and counties of Los Angeles, Pasadena, Long Beach and Santa Monica will follow suit by 2020. In 2018, the East Bay cities of Alameda and Fremont also approved the wage increase by 2020.
Wage stagnation and the near-catastrophic housing crisis are fueling this campaign for higher wages...
The Alliance for a Just Recovery (AJR), which includes every major Sonoma County labor, environmental, and faith based organization, is leading the campaign for a citywide minimum wage higher than the state’s in Sebastopol, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati and Novato.
The AJR emphasizes four ways that raising the minimum wage is good for North Bay business.
By Will Hudson Marin Independent Journal July 31, 2019
North Bay labor groups are eyeing Marin County as the next battleground to accelerate minimum wage hikes in the face of the region’s rising housing and living costs.
The first push has already begun in Novato, which is considering a $13.50 per hour or even up to a $15 per hour minimum wage that could be in effect a year from now. Minimum wage is currently $12 per hour.
The City Council voiced support in late July for the faster wage hike, but differed on how soon it should occur. Council members generally favored a July 2020 start date, though there was less consensus on whether the wage should immediately rise to $15 per hour or less. The council scheduled an Aug. 27 hearing to discuss how it could proceed.
By Yousef Baig Petaluma Argus Courier July 19, 2019
Thousands of workers on the lowest rung of Petaluma’s economic ladder will see higher wages starting next year after city officials this week agreed to accelerate a state plan to increase the minimum wage.
The city council voted unanimously Monday night to adopt a $15 per hour minimum wage starting Jan. 1 for large businesses (26 or more employees), and will then enact the rate citywide a year later in 2021. Smaller employers (25 or less employees) will be phased in starting with a $14 minimum in 2020.
Petaluma took the step as part of a regional effort to boost wages in every jurisdiction as the cost of living continues to skyrocket, undercutting the economic sustainability of the Bay Area.
In a joint effort with North Bay Jobs with Justice, or NBJJ, the regional offshoot of a national organization on the frontlines of the issue, Petaluma became the second municipality in Sonoma County to enact the increase ahead of the 2023 deadline state lawmakers agreed to in 2016.
Minimum Rage: Fight for $15 Moves to Petaluma and Santa Rosa After a Bruising Battle in Sonoma
By Tom Gogola North Bay Bohemian June 12, 2019
After prevailing in the city of Sonoma, a local effort to jump start the state's 2023 $15 minimum wage mandate now moves to Petaluma and Santa Rosa, says local wage-equity activist Marty Bennett.
Last week the Sonoma City Council unanimously passed a local minimum wage ordinance that will see the city's minimum wage rise to $16 an hour by 2023. The effort was driven by the local umbrella-advocacy organization North Bay Jobs for Justice and opposed by a number of restaurants in Sonoma.
The labor push was designed to get a jump on the state's new minimum wage law which, by 2023, will see California's floor wage rise by stages to $15 an hour for companies that employ 25 people. Companies that employ more than 25 will be onboard with the $15 wage by 2022. The current minimum wage in the state is $11 an hour; that will rise by a dollar a year until 2023.
Tensions Spill Over as City Council Finalizes Minimum Wage Hike
By Jason Walsh Sonoma Index Tribune June 5, 2019
The Sonoma City Council on Monday finalized its ordinance raising the city minimum wage to $16 for all workers by 2023 – placing Sonoma at an accelerated pace beyond the state’s current series of annual wage hikes.
Sonoma will begin ratcheting up its minimum wage on Jan. 1 of 2020, with businesses with fewer than 25 employees paying a minimum of $12.50 an hour and larger businesses paying $13.50 an hour. Following a series of yearly increases, the city wage will settle on Jan. 1 of 2023 at $16 for smaller businesses and $17 for larger businesses – both rates above the state’s planned $15 wage that year.
The council voted 3-2 to approve the minimum wage schedule, with members David Cook and Madolyn Agrimonti against....
By Martin J. Bennett The Press Democrat March 22, 2019
The rental housing crisis in Sonoma County is close to catastrophe. Rents spiked 50 percent from 2011 to 2016, then soared 35 percent after the 2017 wildfires — just before Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a one-year, 10 percent cap on rent increases (the Santa Rosa City Council renewed the cap in December). The recent Russian River flood forced hundreds of low-income renter families to evacuate and will certainly intensify the rental crisis...
In the 2018 Sonoma County Homeless Census and Survey, more than 10,000 residents self-identified as “unstably housed”— many live with family or friends or without a formal lease. Seventy-two percent of 500 poll respondents identified “unaffordable rent” as the main reason for their lack of permanent housing.
Building new affordable housing is costly and takes years...
Clearly, the fastest way to make rents affordable is to raise the wage floor, and particularly the minimum wage.
After leading the May 1st International Worker's Day march through Santa Rosa, speakers from our Petaluma Raise the Wage committee spoke about the importance of a living wage, especially when addressing the housing crisis and food insecurity for communities and families of color.
*defined as 25 employees or less
NBJwJ's Recent Report:
“The State of Working Sonoma 2018: A Profile of Income and Racial Inequality, Poverty, and Low-Wage Employment”
On Monday, November 19, 2018 North Bay Jobs with Justice released this report by Jesus Guzman, MPP.
Despite the prolonged recovery from the 2007-2009 Great Recession, inequality in Sonoma County has soared, median household income has stagnated, and wages have fallen for the bottom 60 percent. The number of families in the county who are working poor has increased since 2005, and the crisis of affordable housing has deepened as renter wages and incomes have not kept pace with skyrocketing rents.
Highlights of the report include:
*One in four Sonoma County residents live in families receiving annual incomes of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line or about $50,200 for a family of four;
*One in five county residents live in working poor families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line with at least one member reporting income from work;
*Women, Latinos and other people of color experience the highest rates of poverty and disproportionately comprise the working poor;
*A living or self-sufficiency wage for Sonoma County is $23 an hour but about three-quarters of the new jobs created between 2014-2024 will pay less than a livable wage.
*Nearly one in two Sonoma County renter households are rent burdened and pay more than 30 percent of their gross monthly income for rent; one quarter are severely rent burdened and pay more than 50 percent for rent.
*Between 2000 and 2016 median rents increased by 25 percent in the county while median renter incomes rose by only 9 percent;
According to researcher Jesus Guzman who authored the report: “The recovery has left behind a majority of working people in the county and the persistence of class and racial disparities has led to widespread economic insecurity.”
Guzman presented a summary of the report at a forum sponsored by the Alliance for A Just Recovery on November 19th in Santa Rosa.
Interview with Jesus Guzman about the report “State of Working Sonoma 2018”
By Leland Clark
Made Local/Locavox:Stories from the people who make our food system go
The State of Working Sonoma 2018, paints a devastating portrait in data of a split in Sonoma County, between the rich and poor, with an economic gap that continues to widen. Prepared by Jesús Guzmán, a graduate of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a lifelong Sonoma County resident, the report was commissioned by North Bay Jobs with Justice. We spoke with Guzmán to find out more about the story told by the numbers, and the ways that policy and action can shift the tide.
70% of our local construction workers are commuting out of Sonoma County every day because our local elected officials are not asking any of our local developers to be using local workers. So the second best thing you can do is call/email your city council-members and ask that all public projects, retail and commercial, schools, and most importantly affordable housing only be built with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA)!! PLA's are the ONLY way that we can ensure local workers are rebuilding in the North Bay, and are guaranteed livable wages and safety standards. The Pre-Apprenticeship program will soon offer all-female cohorts and Spanish co-horts, because a pathway to the middle class needs to prioritize folks of color, immigrant workers and women who are often exploited by bad developers.
North Bay Jobs with Justice works with Community Partners to launch Fire Relief Fund for Undocumented Community in Sonoma County
Clean Up and Recovery from the fires is now underway, but the need is still great. NBJwJ is committed to ensuring that our community's recovery is a just and sustainable one for all workers affected by the fires, especially the many undocumented workers who will be unable to apply for resources. To that end, we partnered with NBOP and the Graton Day Labor Center to start a fund with Grant Makers for Immigrants and Refugees to support undocumented children, families and community that have also lost either their homes or places of work. We established UNDOCUFUND.ORG to raise funds for this vulnerable group of workers. Please consider giving generously.
Donate here online: UndocuFund.orgor send a check to: UndocuFund c/o GCIR, P.O. Box 1100, Sebastopol, California 95473-1100