(Photo Credit: Grant Slater/KPCC)
Hundreds of residents participated in a community hearing process led by Councilman Curren Price in March and April, to discuss the City’s proposal to raise the minimum wage for all workers, a change that could positively impact the lives of more than 600,000 Angelenos . As Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Price led the series of committee hearings, hosted in Watts, Van Nuys and West Los Angeles, giving local residents a chance to voice their support and raise questions, as well as debate the results of three studies conducted in March gauging the economic impact of the wage plan.
The studies and hearings came as a result of a motion introduced last fall by Councilman Curren Price along with his colleagues, Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Mike Bonin and Gil Cedillo, which called for raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $13.25 by 2017 and $15.25 by 2019. Mayor Eric Garcetti also laid out his proposal to raise wages in Los Angeles last summer to $13.25 by 2017.
“As a policy maker, representing one of the poorest regions in this City, I know the real life impact that stagnant wages have had on our underserved communities,” said Councilmember Curren Price. “I am very proud of the inclusive community discussion process we had, which brought out more than 600 residents over the course of two weeks, and provides my colleagues and I with invaluable feedback as we work to craft the best policy possible for the City.”
The City’s plan to raise the minimum wage would improve the lives of more than 600,000 Angelenos and create a positive economic impact for Los Angeles, the economic report by the University of California Berkeley found. That study, The Proposed Minimum Wage Law for Los Angeles: Economic Impacts and Policy Options, determined that “the benefits of the proposed minimum wage law will largely outweigh the costs in Los Angeles City, and when the larger region is considered, the net impact of the law will be positive.”
The report also established that up to 600,000 Angelenos would see a pay increase of up to 30 percent by 2019, with the largest proportion of those residents – more than 80 percent - being people of color from underserved communities. Studies were also commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. While the Chamber study found that a wage increase would slow down the rate of job growth, potentially impacting up to 70,000 jobs, the Labor study determined that every dollar invested into a wage increase results in $1.12 stimulus to the economy, and some $6 billion in increased earnings for local workers.
During the hearings, residents almost unanimously agreed that Los Angeles needs a minimum wage increase, with adequate enforcement and paid sick days for employees, but they disagreed on the pace and schedule of the increases. Restauranteurs also expressed concerns with how the wage increase would impact their tipped workers, although studies show that less than half of all tipped employees work in the restaurant industry.
The wage increase proposal will continue to be debated by the Economic Development Committee in the coming months. Check www.the-new-ninth.com for updated and more information