The following appeared on San Jose website on Oct. 15
Statement of Bishop Patrick McGrath on Measure D, Raising the Minimum Wage
Office of the Bishop
I have been asked by some people whom I respect to endorse Measure D that would raise the minimum wage in the City of San Jose to $10. At the same lime, others—whom I also respect—have advised me to remain silent on this issue
I have read the arguments put forward by both sides and I am torn.
I understand the plight of minimum wage earners who cannot raise a family on $320 per week. I appreciate that the minimum wage has remained artificially low by failures—on either a national or local level—to implement incremental increases over the last lour decades.
However, I share the fear of those who lament that the measure before San Jose voters is too broad, that some of the low-wage earners are high school students: others speculate that an increase in the minimum wage will make San Jose a city in which it is too costly to dine in a restaurant. They would let the market drive whatever changes are necessary.
Having given much consideration to these and other factors, I have been conflicted as to how I will vote and whether I should or could address this matter in any public fashion. Today I have decided that I can and I will.
Given the complex matters involved in this issue, there is a margin of error.
If I am to err, then I will do so according to my conscience, in favor of “the least of my brothers and sisters,” to use words from the Gospel of Matthew.
If I must come down on one side or the other, I will cast my lot with the workers who are at the margins, who are barely surviving or even slipping deeper into poverty.
Yes, a meal out may cost more and other services that we depend upon in also take a larger bite out of our wallets and purses, but to enjoy these at the expense of so many individuals in the service industries who—as hard as they work—cannot take enough pay home to support their loved ones is, to me, unconscionable.
I will, therefore, vote yes on Measure D on November 6 and I encourage you to vote your conscience on this issue.