We remain disappointed the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of having the city attorney begin drafting an extreme approach to a minimum wage increase earlier this week. The increase will raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Despite the CRA proving three legal analyses from reputable law firms that indicated that the city could indeed implement a total compensation model for tipped servers, City Attorney Mike Feuer maintained that the City could not and would not- even forbidding the councilmembers to discuss the issue publicly. With four of the councilmembers supporting the CRA plan and the mayor publicly supporting the concept, the city attorney was forced to provide the council with a response. Unfortunately the city attorney demanded that discussion take place in a “closed session” with the councilmembers only in attendance.
Leading up to Tuesday’s action by the council to direct the city attorney to draft a minimum wage ordinance for the council to formally vote on in the weeks ahead, were four Economic Development committee hearings. While organized labor bused in supporters of the wage increase (with no mitigating factors) to speak in favor of the proposal, in most of these cases, they were equally matched with restaurant operators, owners, and employees joining the CRA in speaking out to the committee members.
The restaurant community was the best represented of any business at all the hearings. Hundreds of phone calls were made by CRA members into the districts of councilmembers, countless letters written, and CRA put a grassroots organizer on the ground in specific council districts to raise awareness among restaurants and recruit constituents to join us in our meetings and in the public hearings.
In response, organized labor drastically changed their message, focus and tactics by attacking the local restaurant community and objecting to the CRA total compensation and teen wage proposals. Reckless and baseless charges were thrown at the local restaurant community including shameful assertions of racism, sexism, and wage theft - all attempts to divert attention from the very real substance of the mitigating proposals being pushed by the local restaurant community.
This initial vote of the council to increase the wage to $15 was taken knowing that it will cost jobs and the closure of small businesses, as each of the three economic studies presented to the councilmembers indicated.
Beginning in 2016, the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles will increase annually as follows:
July 1, 2016 - $10.50
July 1, 2017 - $12.00
July 1, 2018 - $13.25
July 1, 2019 - $14.25
July 1, 2020 - $15.00
Beginning in 2017, a modified minimum wage schedule for businesses and non-profits with 25 or fewer employees will be established as follows:
July 1, 2017 - $10.50
July 1, 2018 - $12.00
July 1, 2019 - $13.25
July 1, 2020 - $14.25
July 1, 2021 - $15.00
Non-profit organizations with greater than 25 employees can apply for a waiver if their top executive earns less than five times the wage of the lowest-paid worker; or provide transitional jobs programs; or serve as child care providers; or are primarily funded by city, county, state, or federal grants or reimbursements.
Starting in 2022, the minimum wage will increase indefinitely every single year based on the previous year's Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles metro area.
Consistent with state law, the youth wage will stay as 85 percent of minimum wage for 160 hours for workers 14-17 years of age.
At the last minute up to 12 days of paid sick leave and language to require “service charges” to be the property of the employee were added to the discussion. Just before the vote, those two items were pulled out to be considered on separate tracks. The first hearing on paid sick leave will take place in late June, just days before the new state law on paid sick leave takes effect.