Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Los Angeles Takes A Big Step Towards Alleviating Income Inequality


This week the Los Angeles City Council voted 14 to 1 to raise the city’s minimum wage from $9 per hour to $15 by the year 2020, making it the largest city in the county to enact such a dramatic wage increase aimed at boosting pay for workers at the low end of the economic ladder.

The council’s decision is part of a broader national effort to alleviate poverty, said Maria Elena Durazo, former head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The vote not only represents a win for workers within Los Angeles, but demonstrates organized labor’s continued political muscle and influence at City Hall.

With income inequality and economic insecurity now at the forefront of the national political agenda, city leaders hope other state and local governments will follow Los Angeles’s lead and build momentum for congressional action on the issue.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has vowed to sign the measure, effecting what could be up to 800,000 workers, into law. The lone dissenter on the Council, LA Councilman Mitchell Englander, concerned about the ability of area businesses to absorb the rapid increases in labor costs, voiced his opposition to the measure saying that “the very last thing that we should be doing as a city is creating a competitive disadvantage for our businesses with those in neighboring cities,”

Juan Moran, a cook in the city, illustrated the hard reality and choices faced by workers with low wage jobs. “I work 12 hours straight without stop … just to pay rent,” he said.

Los Angeles Times