Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is scheduled to sign the city’s minimum wage hike into law this weekend, capping the wage-raising campaign he started last fall.
The City Council voted 12-1 Wednesday to raise the city’s minimum wage from the current statewide minimum of $9 an hour to $15 an hour over the next five years, with Councilman Mitch Englander casting the lone dissenting vote. The council’s vote marked the final approval needed from the council.
The official signing ceremony, which is expected to be attended by at least a handful of Council members, will take place Saturday afternoon at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in South Los Angeles. That’s the same park where Garcetti on Labor Day kicked off the campaign to raise the minimum wage.
He had proposed raising the wage to $13.25 an hour by 2017. Councilmembers later proposed hiking the wage to $15.25 by 2019. The Council ultimately passed, and Garcetti on Saturday is expected to sign, a measure to raise the wage to $15 by 2020 for most businesses, with increases tied to inflation from then on.
Regardless of the particulars, most business groups in the city have been against the wage-hike plans from the start. Ruben Gonzalez, senior vice president for public policy and political affairs at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that the ramp-up in wages will hurt many workers as employers leave the city, cut back on workers' hours or eliminate jobs. That's the same argument Englander made in casting his vote against the hike.
"The outcome of this new minimum wage regulation is clear," Gonzalez said. "As it goes into effect and begins to impact L.A. businesses, it will mean lost jobs, lost benefits and lost economic activity for the city."
Though the wage hike will become law Saturday, the first increase, to $10.50 an hour, isn’t scheduled to take place until July 1, 2016. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees and some nonprofits will get an extra year, with the first hike coming in 2017 and the final hike to $15 an hour taking effect in 2021.