LOS ANGELES, CA – Thanks to the rising cost of orange juice, gas, appliances and just about everything else, minimum wage workers in Studio City will get a raise starting July 1, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday.
The new minimum wage in the City of Angels will increase from $15 to $16.04 per hour. Triggered by inflation, the wage hike has faced opposition from many industry groups who say it is a burden on businesses, especially in times of economic upheaval. Los Angeles city leaders, however, have championed the increase as a tool in the fight against poverty.
“We fought to raise the minimum wage because hard work should always be greeted with the dignity, respect and opportunity that a fair wage brings,” Garcetti said. “Our decision to end poverty wages in Los Angeles has had a ripple effect across the country, and this additional increase is the latest reason to celebrate today – and a reminder of how our fight for better wages is far from over.”
Southern California is home to both the highest minimum wage in the country and a cost of living that ranks among the highest in the country. Last month, West Hollywood enacted the highest minimum wage in the nation — a minimum wage of $17.64 an hour for hospitality workers. That’s more than double the federal minimum wage. The California minimum wage is $15 an hour.
The region’s high minimum wage still fails to keep up with the cost of living. Locally, the living wage is estimated at $19.35 per hour, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Los Angeles wage increase was enacted in 2015, raising it to $15 an hour by 2020 and subjecting it to increases each year based on the Consumer Price Index for urban earners and office workers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
According to Garcetti’s office, more than 600,000 Angelenos earn minimum wage and will receive a pay raise on July 1 when it takes effect.
“Everyday workers continue to face many challenges. Raising the minimum wage rate is intended to help us move towards a better economy and ensure that employees can have their basic needs met,” said Dr. Mike Davis, Acting Chairman of the Board of Public Works. Commission, said in a statement. “I commend the Mayor and City Council for their efforts in addressing income inequality and our Bureau of Contract Administration for protecting and promoting the health, safety and welfare of Los Angeles workers. “
The Bureau of Contract Administration manages the implementation and administration of minimum wage guidelines for Los Angeles.
Bureau Director John L. Reamer Jr. said the annual wage adjustment is intended to ensure workers’ wages keep pace with inflation.
“This is an important step to address the economic realities of every Angeleno who works hard to support themselves and their families,” he said. “As always, our Wage Standards Office will remain committed to protecting vulnerable workers from wage theft in order to advance labor standards in the city and provide hard workers with the opportunity to earn fair wages for the work they do. ‘they perform.’
Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry Commerce Association, said his organization opposes raising the minimum wage, as it did when passing the law tying it to the price index at the consumption.
“It was a huge increase over a short period of time,” he said. Waldman added that the association wants an “exit ramp” included in the policy, so the raise doesn’t go into effect when the economy isn’t doing well.
City and Patch News Service member Paige Austin contributed to this report.