Four members of the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to raise the citywide minimum wage to $13.25 an hour by 2017, and to look into raising the wage to $15.25 an hour by 2019.
The wage hike proposal—authored by Mike Bonin, Gil Cedillo, Nury Martinez and Curren Price Jr.—mirrors Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan for raising the minimum hourly wage in the city to $13.25 over the next three years, and to peg it to the consumer price index afterward.
Under the motion seconded by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian, council committees would be tasked with studying how the city might increase the wage to $15.25 an hour, and potentially higher based on the cost-of-living index.
Labor groups rallied at City Hall to call for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and requiring employers to provide paid sick days and wage-theft protection. Representatives of clergy, labor and community groups said 46 percent of workers in Los Angeles, or about 810,000 people, make less than $15 an hour, which isn’t enough to cover basic necessities.
“We see hard-working men and women running between two and three jobs, yet unable to keep pace with the escalating cost of living in Los Angeles,” said the Rev. Lewis Logan, a pastor at Ruach Christian Community Fellowship. Albina Ardon makes $9 an hour at McDonald’s and says she has little time for her children.
“My husband and me work, and the money that we get is not enough money, and sometimes we have to depend on public assistance,” she said. While the mayor’s $13.25 hourly minimum wage proposal “is a good start,” a $15 an hour wage is needed, she said. Ardon is part of a growing group of fast-food workers who are pushing for the $15 minimum wage. She was among dozens of school, garment and restaurant workers who turned out to urge council support for the higher wage, as well as measures to enforce wage theft laws and paid sick days.
The wage theft and paid sick day measures were not included in the council motion, but an aide said those issues could be brought up in committee.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce opposes Garcetti’s plan to raise the minimum wage for all workers citywide, saying it would result in job losses.
The $13.25 minimum wage motion comes less than a week after the City Council agreed to boost the minimum wage for workers at large non-union Los Angeles hotels to $15.37 an hour.
The state minimum wage is set to rise to $10 in January 2016, but for thousands of workers at Los Angeles hotels with 300 or more rooms, the minimum wage is scheduled to jump to $15.37 an hour on July 1 under the ordinance approved by city council. Hotels with at least 150 rooms will be required to match that raise, starting July 1, 2016.
The hotel industry wage hike, which was opposed by many in the business industry, won approval from a divided city council last week. Dissenting votes were cast by Councilmen Mitch Englander, Bernard Parks and Paul Krekorian.
Garcetti joined Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday morning at a roundtable discussion with business leaders in downtown Los Angeles to make a case for raising the minimum wage.
At a similar event Monday in Las Vegas, Biden pushed for the national minimum wage to increase to $10.10 an hour, up from $7.25 per hour. He said it would not cost jobs and would inject $19 billion into the U.S. economy.
“All of this is disposable income and it gets straight into the economy,” he said. “It’s about time we do something. (The) minimum wage hasn’t kept up.”