Minimum Wage Question Could Go to L.A. Voters

By City News Service

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 last week 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 do so. It also calls for the minimum wage to be raised in conjunction with future cost-of-living increases.

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.

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.

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 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.

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July 17, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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