Oakland Port Commission Imposes Wage Minimums

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After more than three months of debate, the Port of Oakland Commission has decided that the city's new "living wage" ordinance applies to car rental employees at Oakland International Airport. As a result, the commission ruled, all on-airport car rental employees must be paid at least $9.45 an hour with health benefits, or $10.87 an hour without health benefits.

The ordinance, approved by voters last March, applies to any company that has more than 20 employees and contracts of at least $50,000 with the city's airport or seaport.

Car rental companies have argued that they're exempt because they signed agreements for month-to-month leases before voters passed the living-wage ordinance.

But labor-rights advocates, led by the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, have countered that each monthly lease constitutes a new agreement. As such, they said, car rental companies on airport must comply with the ordinance's minimum-wage requirements.

At its Aug. 6 meeting, the Port Commission unanimously ordered the port executive director to cancel all month-to-month leases and renegotiate the contracts to ensure they fall under the living-wage ordinance.

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