Gino DiCaro

IWC moves to convene wage board

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, July 8, 2006

The California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) met for the second time this year on July 5, 2006. Their goal was to examine the various petitions that have been submitted to them for increases in the minimum wage.

The first petition was filed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after it became clear that the California Legislature would not send him a bill to raise the minimum wage that did not also include some form of indexing. Because of this legislative dispute the Governor moved to fund the operations of the IWC and petitioned the commission to implement his preferred minimum wage increase.

A second petition was submitted by the California Labor Federation – AFLCIO shortly after the IWC was brought back to life. The petition seeks the same $1 increase that Governor Schwarzenegger supports, but also includes a request that the IWC build an indexing mechanism into the increase. A similar petition was filed July 1, 2006 by Treasurer and Gubernatorial Candidate Phil Angelides. There is a debate about whether the IWC has authority to adopt an increase that includes indexing. The IWC and all interested parties will be looking at this issue closely in the coming months.

During the hearing, the IWC discussed and listened to exhaustive testimony on all of the issues raised by the petitions. The commission’s duty was to determine if the minimum wage was potentially inadequate to provide the cost of a proper living to an individual employee and, if so, to convene a Wage Board to review the issue of adequacy and provide a recommendation.

The IWC Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of convening a Wage Board. The Wage Board is made up of members of various labor and employer organizations that are familiar with the issue. Their first meeting will be on August 4, 2006 in Sacramento. No testimony will be allowed.

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