Tags: minimum wage | LA City Council | yes | vote

LA Council Gives Initial 'Yes' Vote to Big Minimum Wage Hike

By    |   Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 09:51 PM

By a vote of 12-3, the Los Angeles City Council has given the preliminary go-ahead to one of the nation's largest minimum wage hikes, choosing to give workers in the city's largest hotels a boost to $15.37 an hour.

The Wall Street Journal reports that's just the beginning. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to see the minimum wage in the entire city increase from $9 per hour to $13.50 over the next three years.

While President Barack Obama has run into strong opposition in his drive to increase the federal minimum wage level from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour, cities and states are running ahead of the feds on the issue. The Journal notes that San Francisco will vote on an increase to $15 per hour in November, already in place in Seattle and SeaTac, and movements are afoot to raise the minimum to $15 per hour in Bellevue, Washington, and Oakland, California.

The Los Angeles rate increase won't affect all hotel employees immediately. If the final vote next week is a yes for the minimum wage hike, workers in hotels with more than 300 rooms will benefit in July, while workers in hotels with between 125 and 300 rooms will have to wait until July 2016.

The increase did not sit well with everyone. Bob Amano, executive director of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, angrily told the Journal, "This is not fair. Where does it say in the city's charter that [City Council members] now become the HR department for private enterprise?"

However, given that San Jose International Airport already boasts a minimum wage of $15.38 and the Los Angeles International Airport has a $15.37 minimum wage, the trend toward higher minimum salaries is easy to discern.

A new Careerbuilder.com poll of hiring managers found that 55 percent believe the federal minimum wage should be at least $10 per hour, while 7 percent said $15 would be acceptable and 62 percent believe the minimum wage should be increased in their state.

Fears that raising the minimum wage would cause a loss of jobs were boosted by a Congressional Budget Office study in February that said increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would cause the loss of 500,000 jobs.

However, Tom Walsh, president of the Unite Here Local 11, said the Los Angeles law's effect "will be very good, not just for hotel workers but for the entire city," because it will increase consumer spending.

The Economic Policy Roundtable said the wage increases could give a $70 million annual boost to the Los Angeles economy.

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By a vote of 12-3, the Los Angeles City Council has given the preliminary go-ahead to one of the nation's largest minimum wage hikes, choosing to give workers in the city's largest hotels a boost to $15.37 an hour.
minimum wage, LA City Council, yes, vote
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Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 09:51 PM
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