The grassroots Los Angeles Workers Assembly is behind the proposal, recently submitting the ballot initiative paperwork to the city clerk’s office. To earn a spot on the ballot, 62,000 signatures are needed. Voters could pass it as early as next spring, and best of all, it would go into effect immediately for larger businesses.
It would also require annual increases tied to the Consumer Price Index of the L.A. Metropolitan Area, and must include employees who work a minimum of two hours per week, and tip earners.
This is not the first local effort to secure a livable income. The L.A. Unified School District, courtesy of workers with the SEIU Local 99, recently moved to provide their service employees a $15 minimum wage. There is also a current effort by city officials to draft an ordinance providing large hotel workers a $15.37 wage. However, today’s announced initiative effort is the first to target the entire city.
Supporters of the ballot measure also hope it will provide enormous momentum for other cities to follow suit — empowering voters to take matters into their own hands where possible, or pressuring their city government to do their bidding.
As expected, many business interests are trotting out their predictable rhetoric that a wage hike would be a job-killer, pushing businesses out of the city and even driving them all the way to Texas. Their fear-mongering is yet to be supported by evidence. In fact, multiple studies have shown that there is no discernible effect on employment when the minimum wage is increased.
The proposal letter drafted for the city clerk asserts that the wage would be “an economic stimulus for low-income neighborhoods”. The premise is that putting money into people’s pockets and reducing dependence on the social safety net are ideas that should be embraced across ideological lines.
The key is to persuade voters who can look past short-sighted business lobbies and look ahead to our mutual long-term benefit.
Perhaps in 2015, we will find out.
h/t: Los Angeles Times.
Featured Photo: Los Angeles Workers Assembly via Facebook.