by Imanuel Larcher
One of the most historic victories for workers throughout the United States took place yesterday, as the city of Los Angeles, California, decided to raise the minimum wage from $9 to $15 an hour over the course of five years. The rule requires companies with over 25 employees to comply over time in small increments until hitting $15 an hour by 2020. Smaller businesses would get an extra year to comply. The ordinance still must be signed into law by Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti, as he is expected to sign the ordinance by this weekend.
It wasn't too long ago that President Obama called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage, from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, and soon after signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for the individuals working on new federal service contracts. There is no question that families cannot raise a family on an income below $10 - $12 an hour, and there is a growing argument that $15 an hour should be the new norm.
The White House released a report documenting the progress on raising the minimum wage, prepared by the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Public Engagement, and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Department of Labor. They noted that, "Raising the minimum wage nationwide will increase earnings for millions of workers, and boost the bottom lines of businesses across the country. While Republicans in Congress continue to block the President's proposal, a number of state legislatures and governors, mayors and city councils, and business owners have answered the President’s call and raised wages for their residents and employees."
Moods and energies were at a high level in Los Angeles once the news broke.
“This is nothing short of historic. Historic for our city. Historic for the economic equality movement. And historic for full-time workers and their families who live on poverty wages. We couldn’t have done it without you. And we can’t thank you enough,” said Laphonza Butler and Rusty Hicks of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO in a joint written statement to USA Today.
Once signed into action by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles will set an example throughout the World.