Emma Sanchez is among those earning minimum wage in San Jose. When asked how she tries to make ends meet, Sanchez said, “Stretch it out. It’s really hard.”
The mother of four said she is sometimes unable to pay her bills. “It’s , extra hours extra shifts,” Sanchez said. “You know, pulling ends here and there to do what you got to do just to make ends meet.”
San Jose voters passed an ordinance two years ago that allows for a jump in minimum wage if the Price Index goes up. But in the last 12 months, the CPI went down, because gas prices took a drop in August.
Although Sanchez lives in one of the most expensive cities in the country, the CPI is a U.S. city average.
“It’s not fair,” Sanchez said. “It’s getting harder and harder and minimum wage is not going to cut it anymore.”
Mayor Sam Liccardo said, “The mechanical of the existing ordinance is not helping.”
Liccardo said he wants to see an increase in minimum wage throughout Santa Clara County.
“There’s no question that the minimum wage at its current level is not enough to enable anyone to survive in this valley,” the mayor told KPIX 5.
For thousands like Sanchez, every penny counts when you’re making minimum wage. She said any increase in pay would help.
“It would help. It would extremely help not only me as a single mother but a lot of people it would help,” Sanchez said.
This is the first time since the ordinance was passed that the minimum wage has not gone up.