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Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, recently joined local labor leaders in celebrating a milestone for workers as the minimum wage in the city increased to $15 per hour on July 1.
“I grew up in a union household, the proud son of a Teamster. I know the importance of providing fair wages to working people,” O’Farrell said. “I also know firsthand how important it is to protect and look out for our small businesses. Six years ago, the Los Angeles City Council led the way on a policy that is fair to workers and fair to businesses, and [now] those efforts pay off in full. After the grueling pandemic and the toll it’s taken on working Angelenos, the landmark $15 milestone could not come at a better time.”
On May 14, 2015, the City Council voted to increase the hourly minimum wage in Los Angeles from $9 to $15. The change took place over a five year period, culminating on July 1, 2021. As part of the effort, O’Farrell helped establish the Office of Wage Standards, which implements, administers and enforces the minimum wage in the city of Los Angeles.
“[It’s] a great day for workers across Los Angeles,” said Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 396. “As COVID-19 has laid bare, we depend on our workers to keep our city going, and they deserve to be treated respectfully and paid fairly. The rest of the United States needs to follow the example that Los Angeles set six years ago, when the City Council voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. We were proud to work with Councilmember O’Farrell and his colleagues then, and we are proud to continue working with local leaders on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of workers across Los Angeles.”
O’Farrell said he will continue to champion workers and small businesses in his district and throughout the city. During the pandemic, he worked with Council President Nury Martinez, 6th District, to establish “hero pay” for grocery workers in Los Angeles, and also provided $1 million in emergency grants to over 150 small businesses in the 13th District.
“Service workers are the backbone of our economy,” added David Huerta, president of the Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers. “Fifteen dollars per hour per hour is a major milestone, and it comes at a critical time for all the service employees who have worked so hard and served on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. A fair wage is a necessary ingredient for workers to be treated with dignity, and Los Angeles should be commended for leading on this issue well before others.”
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