Last Update: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Minimum Wage PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 17 July 2014 01:22

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A group of activists is hoping to get an initiative before Los Angeles voters, possibly by next year, that would raise the minimum wage to $15 for workers in the city.

The proposal was submitted to the City Clerk's Office by John Parker, Jose Medina, Maggie Vascessenno, Scott Scheffer and Essie Crosby.

Their proposal calls for a $15 minimum wage that would go into effect immediately for larger employers, while smaller employers would have less than two years to comply. It also calls for the minimum wage to be raised in conjunction with future costof- living increases.

"Empowering the low wage workers is a way of creating the forces needed to make this country change in the right direction. What happens in Los Angeles is going to affect the whole nation,'' Parker told Video News West from his home in South Central Los Angeles.

The proposal goes well beyond a measure being considered by the Los Angeles City Council that would increase the minimum wage to about $15 for some hotel workers.

Councilman Mike Bonin, who co-authored the hotel worker minimum wage motion, said he would need to take a closer look at the initiative proposal, but added that he has "long been supportive of the citywide minimum wage'' idea.

He said a $15 minimum wage is a matter of "simple economic justice'' that dates back to when Martin Luther King Jr. led a march on Washington, D.C., calling for an end to poverty and to raise the minimum wage to $2. That $2 raise would now be $15, if adjusted for inflation.''

Bonin said he also likes the idea of automatically increasing the minimum wage to keep up with inflation.

The proposed citywide minimum- wage hike is still in its infancy. The city attorney still needs to write a title and summary for the initiative, and the proponents of the initiative would need to collect more than 60,000 valid signatures to get it qualified for the ballot, according to Maria Garcia of the City Clerk's office.

According to Parker, when people are unable afford basic necessities, it is a "dangerous situation'' in Los Angeles. "This is what people are demanding, and we think we are going to get it,'' Parker said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he would sign an ordinance enacting a $15 minimum wage for hotel workers. But Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said he could not comment on the latest minimum wage increase proposal, saying "we are currently reviewing'' it. "Overall, Mayor Garcetti's top priority is the prosperity of L.A. families, and the minimum wage plays a key role in the health of our communities,'' Robb said.

California's minimum wage rose to $9 this month, and is expected to hit $10 an hour by 2016.

Some business leaders have decried efforts to dramatically boost the minimum wage, saying it could result in fewer jobs as business owners struggle to control labor costs.

A consultant hired by the city to review the proposed wage increase for hotel workers concluded in a report that while some employees would benefit others would suffer if hotel owners are forced to impose layoffs or hiring freezes. Parker said he believes the higher wage will generate more revenue in the community.

"It's a boost to the economy,'' he said.