Student among workers set for March 2 pay hikes

Oakland voters approve raise in minimum wage


Courtesy of Darianna Speech

Darianna Speech received a big raise at Safeway on March 2 along with all other minimum wage workers in Oakland. She now makes $12.25 an hour.

Students who work minimum wage jobs in Oakland should soon be making more money.

That’s because voters approved Measure FF on Nov. 4.

They voted to establish a minimum wage in the City of Oakland of $12.25 per hour, up from $9 an hour, beginning on March 2. The minimum wage rate will increase yearly on Jan. 1 based on increases in the cost of living.

The minimum wage measure received 81.77 percent of voters’ support, according to the Alameda County website.

“I’m ecstatic,”said April Phanh, a junior in Mandela Law and Public Service Academy who works at the Oakland Zoo. “I work part time, and it will help so much because you’re trying to survive in this economy.”

Media Academy senior Darianna Speech is also excited about the increase.

“I can enjoy going to work,” she said. “I currently get paid $9 an hour at Safeway. I think it’s great.”

It’s not just teenagers who are happy that they will see more money in their pockets.

“It is really good to get paid $12.25 because it will provide a higher income,” said 23-year-old Zaidy Hernandez, who works at Espresso Gourmet Cafe in Downtown Oakland.

But Hernandez also sees a possible downside.

“There’s a possibility my co-workers can be dismissed,” she said.

Another person who sees both good and bad in the wage hike is Bre Solis, who is a coordinator for Youth Together afterschool program at Fremont High School.

“It’s something that our communities have been wanting and needing for a long time,” Solis said. “I’m just concerned about what the catch is,” she said. “Will corporations find a loophole like they did when Obamacare took place and everyone working 40 hours qualify for healthcare with the help of their company?”

While some have mixed opinions about minimum wage, there are others such as economics teacher Richard Charlesworth who believes it will be beneficial to the community as a whole.

“There are people that are close to a minimum wage, once you obtain more money you’ll expend it. It goes round and round,” he said. “More money, more spending … business makes more profit.”