Update on Project Activities
We met with Alex Andrade Monday in order to plan our report on a minimum wage ordinance’s impacts on economic development (specifically in relation to low-wage workers in small businesses) in Mountain View. After giving a presentation to the entire class, Mr. Andrade sat down with our group to discuss the logistics for this quarter regarding our roles in researching the effects of the minimum wage increase.
What We Observed and Learned
To offer us some context as we begin our task, Mr. Andrade explained to us the prevalence of minimum wage workers in California. According to his data, approximately five service sector jobs exist for every tech job. Mr. Andrade also opened our eyes to the fact that about 20% of Google employees work for minimum wage. A survey conducted in Mountain View around 2015 found small business owners largely supported an increase in minimum wage, but recent reports worry Mr. Andrade about the potentially negative impacts of such a minimum wage increase on small businesses. He described one individual as tearful when she realized she might need to spend thousands of dollars more on labor each year.
In addition to the above concerns, Mr. Andrade informed us about his expectations for an economic downturn in Mountain View within the next five years. He would like us to conduct updated surveys on the residents of Mountain View in order to determine what the city can do to retain residents as the projected downturn approaches.
Regardless of our findings, we know the City of Mountain View’s minimum wage will reach $15.00 January 1, 2018. Mr. Andrade said he expects a 2% increase in each year afterward to account for rising costs of living. Our mission revolves around the discovery of future shortcomings that may require further changes to the minimum wage or other actions entirely.
Some direct quotes (in bulleted form) from Mountain View’s website:
Mountain View is an affluent city with a village feel. Local businesses fill in its downtown area. The city has a tech driven economy with Google being one of its major contributors. Its unemployment rate is 3%. Because of its attractive job opportunities Mountain View housing prices are inflated which makes it hard for those who work in Mountain View to live in or close to Mountain View. To combat this, Mountain View’s council decided to increase its minimum wage ordinance with the intent to give individuals more economic mobility.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
Mr. Andrade elaborated on what he expects from us in our final project deliverables. First, he advised we draft two surveys (one with questions for business owners and one with questions for their employees) and communicate the results in the form of a bullet pointed document outlining the goals of the research. He also said we can use the council reports seen online as templates for our final paper deliverable: a research paper describing the impact of the minimum wage ordinance. Mr. Andrade described this paper as a “stakeholder outreach engagement plan.” He then told us that, while unnecessary for our project, we can freely attend Mountain View’s city hall meetings every first Tuesday of month at 8:00 a.m.
In terms of action items for the next week, we will be meeting Mr. Andrade for brunch this upcoming Sunday at 12:00pm to discuss our thoughts and to schedule our first field meeting. Since Mr. Andrade is a Resident Fellow at Trancos, his accessibility for meetings is even easier because he is living on Stanford’s campus.