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L.A.'s Minimum Wage to Increase to $13.25 an Hour Under Garcetti Plan

L.A.'s Minimum Wage to Increase to $13.25 an Hour Under Garcetti Plan
Photo by Ted Soqui

Mayor Eric Garcetti is working on a proposal to raise L.A.'s minimum wage to $13.25 an hour within three years, according to two people briefed on the plan.

The mayor is expected to roll out the proposal next week. The details have still not been finalized, and the mayor's office is awaiting a report from a labor-funded policy organization before making the announcement. 

Garcetti wants to increase the citywide minimum wage in three increments, reaching $13.25 an hour by 2017. After that, the wage would be indexed to inflation.

The plan marks an abrupt shift in focus for the Garcetti administration, which up until now has emphasized business-friendly initiatives like expanding the film tax incentive and lowering the city's business tax. Business leaders reacted to the shift with dismay.

"I'm stunned," said Stuart Waldman, chair of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. "He knows as well as anyone that this city needs jobs. Introducing this measure will have a chilling effect on anyone considering opening a business in Los Angeles, and it will probably also push a lot of people out of Los Angeles."

The L.A. County Federation of Labor has been pushing for an increase to the minimum wage for downtown hotel workers to $15 per hour. But some progressive activists have expressed concern that that proposal was too narrowly focused on one industry.

Last month, some of the activists who were involved in boosting Seattle's minimum wage to $15 an hour announced plans to launch a similar campaign in L.A.

"One of Mayor Garcetti's top priorities is to lift Angelenos out of poverty. In recent weeks he has met with business, labor, community and faith leaders to discuss ways to help L.A. families and our economy thrive," Garcetti's spokesman, Jeff Millman, said in a statement.

Update: Councilman Mike Bonin, who has led efforts to increase wages for downtown hotel workers, said he wants to see a $15 minimum wage citywide.

"We need to get the working poor above the poverty level," Bonin said.

He also said he expects the mayor's proposal "will have broad-based support on the City Council."

SEIU Local 721, which represents L.A. city workers, is also pushing for $15.

“Our position is clear: whether you’re a truck driver at the port, a fast food worker at McDonald’s, or you work for a subcontractor with the City of Los Angeles, all workers need to earn at least $15 an hour and the right to form a union," said spokeswoman Alisa Rivera. "That is the pathway we support to combat income inequality and rebuild the middle class."

Philanthropist Eli Broad also issued a statement supporting Garcetti's plan: "If Los Angeles is to maintain our standing as a world-class city, we need to increase the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would help lift people out of poverty and stimulate our local economy."


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