Minimum Wage – $8 by ’08
California’s minimum wage of $6.75 an hour will climb to $7.50 in January and then to $8 one year later, after the governor and legislators agreed to a compromise plan last week. Governor Schwarzenegger agreed to sign the legislation as long as Democratic legislators dropped efforts to tie future wage hikes automatically to the cost of living. In exchange, he agreed to a slightly higher increase. While business leaders applauded the lack of a cost-of-living link, many still opposed any increase. The California Restaurant Association was particularly vocal in its criticism. "It’s bad for business, it’s bad for restaurants and ultimately it’s bad for consumers who will see inflation at their dinner table," complains Jot Condie, CEO of the association. The legislation still faces the formality of passing the state senate and assembly.
Seeing Through Blind Ads
Companies have their own ways of advertising openings and many prefer not to disclose the name of their firm in ads. (Perhaps an individual is about to be replaced but is still in the position.) However, there are occasions when you can deduce the company from the description in the ad. In that case, call and find out who is doing the hiring and arrange an interview with that individual, advises James Challenger, president of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an international ouplacement firm. When you call, do not mention that you saw an ad, just ask about a job. If you cannot determine the employer, respond to the ad by enclosing a resume and underlining those parts that relate in any manner to the job involved. Describe your experience in a cover letter. Do not reply the first day the ad runs, Challenger advises. Many companies do not sort out replies for at least a week, so the letter that arrives later has a better chance of being on top of the pile. If the job sounds especially good and you are qualified on all counts, make a copy of your letter. Send the copy to the blind ad’s box number ten days to two weeks after your first letter if there has been no response. Include another letter stating that you are extremely well qualified and were surprised not to hear from them. Also enclose another underlined resume.
On the Job Front
FOLSOM – IronStone Bank, based in Atlanta, has opened a local branch. This is its second outlet in the Sacramento region and its eighth in California.
LAFAYETTE – The new California Bank of Commerce is seeking regulatory approval to open. The bank hopes to attract customers from nearby Moraga and Orinda.
OAKLAND – Two new banks are on the drawing boards. OneCalifornia Bank, a financial institution especially focused on helping improve low-income neighborhoods, will open its inaugural branch in March. No staffing details have been disclosed. Alta Alliance Bank, formerly Alta California Bank, will also open in the near future.
SAN FRANCISCO – Union workers at 13 major hotels voted to authorize a strike if progress is not made in bargaining sessions in the days ahead. The dispute, which is over two year’s old, centers on the unionization process for nonunion hotels, workloads, pensions and healthcare. The dispute has hurt local tourism since the union has organized efforts to get conventions to boycott the city.
VACAVILLE – Sports Chalet has opened a 41,000-sq-ft store in the Nut Tree Village Shopping Center. In addition to retail items, the LA-based chain offers various sports-related services including rentals, instruction and bike repair.