- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco joined Seattle Tuesday in raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

With all precincts reporting, a ballot measure gradually increasing the minimum wage in San Francisco to $15 by 2018 had support from roughly three-quarters of voters. It needed a simple majority to win.

“Tonight, San Francisco voters sent a message loudly and clearly to the nation that we can take on the growing gap between rich and poor, we can give a well-deserved raise to our lowest-wage workers, and we can do it in a way that protects jobs and small business,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement after the vote.

Minimum wage hikes were also on the ballot in two other California cities. Neighboring Oakland overwhelmingly approved an increase to $12.25 an hour. Further north in Eureka, voters rejected a $12-an-hour minimum wage.

The San Francisco measure - similar to one in Seattle - would raise the minimum wage to $12.25 in 2015, $13 the next year, $14 the year after that and then $15 in 2018. At $15 an hour, the annual pay for a full-time minimum-wage worker would be $31,000.

The minimum wage is currently $10.74 an hour in San Francisco.

The wage bump comes amid growing concerns about the cost of housing in the city and what some perceive as increasing gentrification caused by the region’s technology boom. Private employee shuttles that carry technology workers from San Francisco to Silicon Valley have been targeted by protesters who accuse those workers of driving up the cost of living in the city.

The minimum wage hike drew some opposition from restaurant owners, who wanted an exemption for workers who receive tips. They also wanted employers to get credit for what they spend on workers’ health care.

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