News & Updates

Northern Border Committee Reviews Improvement Projects

Northern Border Committee Members

Northern Border Committee Members

Building on their initial meeting during the Chamber’s last delegation to Mexico City, the Chamber team – as part of their involvement on the Northern Border Committee – co-hosted a meeting in Tijuana with Consejo de Desarrollo Econmico de Tijuana (CDT), a business organization that focuses on the economic development of Tijuana.

The meeting focused on border improvement projects, including: a multiple-reentry visitor’s permit to Mexico (FMM) for via land and sea, the consolidation of a North American trusted traveler program, and improvements to the Mexican pathway to PedWest. Each project represents the Chamber’s overall plan to advance trade between the United States and Mexico, which – at more than $1 billion per day – is one of the United States’ largest trading partners.

The meeting concluded with an agreement signed by the committee members to continue working together for a prosperous regional economy.

Travelers May Now Use New Virginia Ave PedWest Facility to Enter United States

The following content is from our latest Policy Update newsletter. To get these updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

After many years of hard work from the binational community, the new PedWest border crossing will open Friday, July 15! Twelve pedestrian entry lanes will take travelers arriving from Mexico to the brand new Virgina Avenue Transit Center just north of the border. From there, bus shuttle service makes quick connections to the Iris Avenue and San Ysidro Transit Centers.

The pedestrian crossing on the east side of San Ysidro will have a reduced number of lanes available for the duration of the construction project, approximately three years.

Download the map here:

For more information about the changes and transit options visit:

San Diego’s New Minimum Wage & Sick Leave Ordinance

UPDATE 08/4/16: The San Diego City Council passed the final minimum wage implementation ordinance on July 26 and it was signed by the Mayor on August 3. The implementation ordinance, which will take effect on September 3, includes enforcement and compliance regulations for the local minimum wage increase. For more information, please see the Treasurer’s page on the City’s website.

The San Diego City Council voted to certify the results of the June 7, 2016 election which included the Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance passed by voters. The certification of the results on July 11 requires businesses to immediately comply with this ordinance which increased minimum wage to $10.50 per hour, and requires for all employees – regardless of wage – to receive a minimum of five days of Earned Sick Leave to be provided either upfront, or accrued at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked.

The clarifications and amendments most likely to be of great importance to your business that occurred since this item was presented to the Council Committee were:

  • Employers were permitted to cap the accrual of Earned Sick Leave at 80 or more hours.
  • Employers were provided the option to “frontload” 40 hours of sick leave at the beginning of a benefit year.
  • For first-time offenders, a $10,000 cap on penalties was included for each type of violation.
  • It was specified that an employer may comply with the Earned Sick Leave requirement through an agreement to provide greater paid time off benefits as calculated using an alternative methodology.

This is how the regulation currently stands:

Businesses Subject to Ordinance:

  • The new ordinance applies to the hours worked within the geographic boundaries of the City of San Diego.
  • The new ordinance applies to all employees who work at least two hours within the geographic boundaries of the City of San Diego in any given week throughout the year.

Minimum Wage

  • Employers are required to pay a minimum rate of $10.50 per hour.
  • The minimum rate of pay increases to $11.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.
  • The minimum rate of pay increases to account for inflation each year starting on January 1, 2019.

Earned Sick Leave

  • Employers are required to provide a minimum of 5 days of Earned Sick Leave either upfront, or accrued at a rate of at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.
  • The Earned Sick Leave pay rate is required to be the same as the regular pay rate.
  • An employer may cap the use of Earned Sick Leave at 40 or more hours within a benefit year.
  • Unused Earned Sick Leave must be allowed to roll over from one year to the next, and cannot be capped at less than 80 hours.
  • Employers are not required to pay out unused Earned Sick Leave when a term of employment ends.
  • This requirement is not in addition to the State-mandated 3 days, but will satisfy the State requirement.
  • Other forms of paid time off may be substituted for Earned Sick Leave as long as they may be used as Earned Sick Leave.
  • An employer may comply with the Earned Sick Leave requirement through an agreement to provide greater paid time off benefits as calculated using an alternative methodology.

Enforcement & Penalties

  • An employee may file a complaint with the City, which has the authority to assess penalties, and/or bring a cause of action against an employer in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce the ordinance and may be entitled to back wages, damages, and legal fee recovery.
  • Each day a wage below minimum wage is paid constitutes a separate and distinct violation.
  • Each day the earned sick leave requirements aren’t met constitutes a separate and distinct violation.
  • The same type of violation affecting multiple employees is counted as multiple violations.
  • The penalty for the first violation is between $500 and $1,000, and the minimum and maximum penalties are increased by 50% for each subsequent violation.
  • Penalties for first-time offenders are limited to $10,000 for each type of violation.
  • Failure to provide notice and/or post as required by the ordinance subjects an employer to a penalty of $500 for each employee up to $2,000.

4th of July Celebration in Tijuana

The following content is from our latest Policy Update newsletter. To get these updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

4th of JulyOver 500 businesses and community leaders attended a U.S. Independence Day celebration hosted by Consul General William Ostick in Tijuana. Attendees included Baja California Governor, Francisco Vega de la Madrid; Tijuana Mayor, Dr. Jorge Astiazarán; and Mexican Consul General in San Diego, Marcela Celorio.

The celebration was a great example of the intertwined culture and strong binational community in our Cali-Baja region.



Member Spotlight: Northcentral University

ncu_logoFounded in Prescott, Arizona in 1996, Northcentral University provides premier online education to students globally who are pursuing regionally-accredited graduate and doctoral degrees in professionally-relevant programs.

With Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education and Social and Behavioral Sciences, NCU is designed for self-starters who seek to achieve their career and academic goals. Utilizing a unique one-to-one learning model, each NCU student is in a classroom of ONE and mentored by a doctoral professor who is experienced in their field of study. Students develop current skills that are immediately applicable to their areas of interest.

NCUGrad_2Northcentral University is regionally accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission. NCU also has programs that have received programmatic accreditations including the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

A common challenge for working students is fitting career, family and school into a 24-hour day. NCU makes earning an advanced degree possible despite life’s challenges. Each student’s pace, learning, and growth aren’t dictated by other students. There are no group projects or class times. NCU’s programs advance students’ ability to think critically and reflectively, while upholding the highest ethical and professional standards. In order to facilitate efficient learning, we utilize the best-in-class technology.

With courses beginning every Monday, students have unparalleled flexibility to customize a degree program to fit their lives.

ncu stuff 2There are no physical residency requirements which makes NCU a convenient choice for working professionals, military personnel and international students.

NCU is proud to offer a uniquely flexible educational pathway that supports student success – and we’re also delighted to be a member of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber shares NCU’s core belief that when we provide education to individuals and organizations, together we grow and prosper in ways that benefit our communities.

For further information, please visit or call us at 844-628-0877. To find out about a business partnership with NCU, please email us at Benefits of a partnership include a preferred tuition reduction on NCU’s currently published rates. This applies to all NCU degree programs in any of its three schools.

Getting Students Job Ready
By Day One

Dr. Elliot Hirshman, President of San Diego State University

Dr. Elliot Hirshman, President of San Diego State University

Over forty Chamber members sat down with the President of San Diego State University, Dr. Elliot Hirshman, at our latest Good Government Speaker Series. The focus of the meeting was workforce development, or specifically: how centers of higher education can effectively train students to become job ready on day one.

Under the leadership of President Hirshman, San Diego State University has raised more than $700 million to support new initiatives including the university’s entrepreneurship centers, which, cumulatively, have made SDSU the 18th “Most Entrepreneurial” university in the nation as ranked by Forbes magazine. By fostering entrepreneurial experiences, SDSU is committed to preparing students for an innovation-based economy and transforming ideas into actual companies.

The meeting was an excellent opportunity for Chamber member business owners to provide input as to what makes a potential hire employable. Business owners are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit talented workers, and spending the time and money to train new employees can also be challenging.

In addition to developing its entrepreneurship centers, the university aims to close this gap by providing workplace experience for its students. By leveraging its extensive alumni network of more than 280,000, SDSU has expanded its Alumni Mentor Program and approximately 3,500 students held internships last year.

“Few things prepare a student to be Day One Ready more than actual work experience and the opportunity to network with future employers… We know from our data and years of research that internships and mentorships provide competitive advantages for our students, and play vital roles in helping them gain employment upon graduation.”

Eric Rivera, SDSU Vice President of Student Affairs

Get Involved

Through its Education & Workforce Development Committee, the Chamber regularly brings educators and employers together for the purpose of advancing San Diego’s workforce. For more information on how you can get involved, please use our contact form below.

Chamber Responds to Trump’s Anti-NAFTA Comments

The following content is from our latest Policy Update newsletter. To get these updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

In response to presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments that he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or inform both Mexico and Canada that “America intends to withdraw from the deal,” San Diego Chamber President & CEO Jerry Sanders issued the following statement:

“The trade policies proposed by Donald Trump are unrealistic, counter-intuitive, and would be damaging to our economy and jobs. As a port and border city, San Diego exports $17.9 billion worth of goods which support more than 110,000 jobs in San Diego. These trade-related jobs are also higher paying at 13 and 18 percent more than non trade-related jobs.

Under NAFTA specifically, California has seen a 290 percent increase in its exports to Mexico supporting 692,240 jobs in the state. Since NAFTA’s implementation, trade volume has more than tripled among its partners and enabled the North American economy to double in size.

With more than 95 percent of our consumers residing outside of the U.S., it is essential that the U.S. continue to open new markets for American goods and services, while creating and sustaining jobs for American workers. This is how we remain competitive and create jobs in a globalizing economy.”

The San Diego Chamber has a long history of advocating for pro-business international policy, including – most recently – facilitating the agreement to finance a new cross-border railroad; assisting the procurement of funds for border infrastructure projects; and expediting the process to expand and modernize the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Despite the presidential candidate’s rhetoric, the Chamber team will continue its work to improve relationships between business owners in Mexico and the United States, and promote policy to expand San Diego’s presence in the global marketplace.