Hot off the press, the Los Angeles County Supervisors today voted to increase the minimum wage in LA County to $15 per hour by 2020 — further evidence that Irvine’s recent repeal of the city’s once leading Living Wage Ordinance is an embarrassment to city leaders.
Here are the details from the LA Times:
“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, leaders of the nation’s largest local government, voted Tuesday to raise the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 over the next few years in county unincorporated areas.
The higher wage would apply to county workers but also those laboring in county-controlled unincorporated areas. The action follows an identical increase adopted by the city of Los Angeles in June.
The vote was 3-2 to approve the wage for workers in unincorporated areas of the county, with Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Don Knabe casting the opposing ballots. They contended that a higher wage would put too much pressure on businesses.”
But in raising the wage for county government workers, Knabe joined Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis in voting in favor of the increase.
The widely anticipated votes could put the greater Los Angeles area on track to have a $15-an-hour regional wage — or leave workers facing a patchwork system in which some of the 87 independent cities in the county move to a higher wage while others hold out.”
There’s an old canard that increases in minimum wage will cost jobs — but historically, that’s never been the case. Pay workers more, especially workers at the lower end of the payscale, and they spend that extra money on durable goods and items for the family that further stimulates the county.
The move by LA County and a recent National Public Radio news story on Irvine’s repeal of a nearly 8 year old Living Wage Ordinance is further evidence that the Irvine City Council is moving backwards and not forward. The move by LA County means ,is also evidence that labor is a commodity. Sure, there are people in OC who will work for the state’s minimum wage but if minimum wage is a few dollars more, the best of that labor force will seek employment to the North. So Irvine will pay less for services and get lesser quality work from those the city council screwed over.
Over at OC Weekly, writer Gabriel San Roman is pushing an idea that Anaheim should pass a Living Wage Ordinance to $15 that every employer in the city would have to honor regardless of the deal struck between the city and Disneyland. I’m not sure $15 is enough and wouldn’t mind seeing $18 and hour or $20 an hour, which would certainly give more buying power to Anaheim residents and reduce the city’s Childhood Poverty rates.
I don’t believe that Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait could support that and still maintain a positive relationship with Orange County’s Lincoln Club. James Vanderbilt, also a Republican, would likely not support it either. It’s hard to see if any proposal to pass a Living Wage law could garner at least one vote on the council.