Los Angeles to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2020

Reuters/Brian Snyder

Reuters/Brian Snyder

The Los Angeles City Council agreed to raise the city’s minimum wage by more than a dollar per hour each year until the amount reaches $15 an hour by 2020, city officials said on Tuesday. The measure would affect the finances of 800,000 people.

Based on a 40-hour workweek, the raise would amount to an
additional $48 a week or approximately $2,000 a year before taxes
for the next five years. Los Angeles is now the largest city to
adopt major a minimum-wage increase, joining three others that
have passed similar legislation: Chicago, San Francisco and
Seattle. The move also puts pressure on other large urban
centers, such as New York, to do the same.

Make no mistake,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, the
measure’s sponsor, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Today the city of Los Angeles, the second-biggest city in
the nation, is leading the nation.”

The measure also ties yearly wage increases to the consumer price
index starting in 2022. In Krekorian’s original measure, an
amendment was included that would have required employers to
grant workers 12 paid days off each year. There was a huge outcry
from the business community, however, and the amendment was
dropped before Tuesday’s vote. It will be considered again as
separate legislation.

The wage increase measure will now go to the city attorney’s
office to be drafted as an ordinance, and then back to the City
Council for approval later this year, before finally being signed
into law by the Mayor. The first increase to go into effect will
push the minimum wage from $9 per hour up to $10.50 in July 2016.

The City Council’s 14-1 vote on the measure did not come without
inducement. Corporate employers have been reluctant to increase
hourly pay rates despite record profits, and have left it largely
up to politicians to try to solve the problem of stagnating
wages, as the cost of living continues to increase.

READ MORE: NY Gov. considering wage increases for
fast food workers, bypassing lawmakers

The much-publicized efforts of the Service Employees
International Union to support fast food workers in their quest
for a $15 wage have been effective in raising the bar for wages.
As part of the campaign, it publicized how corporations have been
relying on state subsidies, such as food stamps and housing
support, to supplement their employees’ wages.

Critics, many of them
business leaders, say the increase will turn the city into
,” pushing
businesses away into places outside the city limits where they
can pay employees less.

They are asking businesses to foot
the bill on a social experiment that they would never do on their
own employees
Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce
Association trade group,
the New York

“A lot of businesses
aren’t going to make it. It’s great that this is an increase for
some employees, but the sad truth is that a lot of employees are
going to lose their jobs.”

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