A city zoning map clearly shows the majority of the mall is in San Jose, which currently has a $10.15 per hour minimum wage. But a portion of the west end of the property is in Santa Clara, with a $9 per hour minimum wage.
SAN JOSE – A unique situation has mall employees fighting for jobs on a one side of a shopping mall because they'll get paid more.
Westfield Valley Mall on Stevens Creek Boulevard is in both the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara.
A city zoning map shows the majority of the mall is in San Jose, which currently has a $10.15 per hour minimum wage. But a portion of the west end of the property is in Santa Clara, with a $9 per hour minimum wage.
Up until July, the Santa Clara's minimum wage was $8.
"When we offered people jobs, they would say, 'Well, I got a job on the other side of the mall'," said Juan Luna, a manager at Shoe Palace in the Santa Clara side of the mall.
"We were going through the hiring process and then we would let them know it's $8 an hour. They were like, 'Really, the mall over there gets paid $10,'" Luna said.
The city limit dividing line runs through a portion of a GAP store, as well as Lush Cosmetics, but both retailers have opted to pay all employees the higher wage.
Other retailers have a more challenging issue, like Wetzel's Pretzels, which operates two stores on opposite sides of the mall.
An employee said management has decided to rotate employees.
"We move back and forth each week," the worker said. "But I'd rather work on the San Jose side."
In July, the city of Santa Clara raised the minimum wage to $9 per hour, while San Jose went to $10.15, closing the wage gap a little.
However, Luna said it's still not enough to retain employees, nor convince applicants he'd like to hire.
"Now we let them on the front end, this is the (Santa Clara) side, don't expect $10," he said.