Economy

Los Angeles to Raise Its Minimum Wage

June 10th 2015

By:
Sarah Gray

Editor's update: On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council cast its final vote to increase the minimum wage to $15 and hour by 2020. The initial vote -- which was 14 to 1 -- was on May 19, 2015. Los Angeles city attorney, Mike Feuer, then drafted an ordinance, which went back to the council for a final vote. The final step is for Mayor Eric Garcetti to approve the bill.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2020. The current minimum wage in Los Angeles -- the country's second largest city -- is $9 an hour, and the New York Times is calling this wage jump "the most significant victory so far in the national push to raise the minimum wage."

The City Council vote of 14 to 1 in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 is a major victor for the Fight for 15 movement, which held rallies nationwide in support of a livable wage just one month ago. ATTN: covered the Los Angeles Fight for 15 protests on April 15, when thousands marched from a University Park McDonald's to the campus of the University of Southern California. ATTN: also spoke to several Los Angeles fast food workers who were fighting for a $15 an hour minimum -- including a student, a young mother, and a man who worked at McDonald's for over two decades:

The vote follows the lead of other cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland who have all raised their minimum wage, and it may spur Los Angeles' neighboring cities like Pasadena, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood to raise their wages to $15. Currently, according to the Times, other cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Kansas City are all considering proposals to raise their wages to $15 an hour. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York also recently called for a Wage Board to raise the wage for fast food workers in his state.

It is estimated that this will raise the wage of 40 percent of workers in Los Angeles. As reported by the Economic Policy Institute, a mere $12 minimum wage would raise 38 million people out of poverty.

What about the federal, nationwide minimum?

In late April, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-Va.) introduced into Congress the Raise the Wage Act, which if passed would, among other things, raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour and do away with with the tipped workers minimum wage.