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Exploring the potential impact of $15 an hour on SoCal

by Austin Cross | AirTalk®

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Fast food workers, healthcare workers and their supporters shout slogans at a rally and march to demand an increase of the minimum wage to 15USD per hour, in Los Angeles on December 4, 2014. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The Los Angeles City Council voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour yesterday; it’s a decision that could mean a raise for about 800-thousand low-wage workers by 2020.

In addition to an increase in pay, wage increases will begin moving with the consumer price index in 2022.  L.A. joins Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, who have each voted for significant pay increases in recent years.

The council vote puts an end to a years-long debate between organized labor and business owners over the potential economic impact of a wage increase. The decision has critics on both sides of the economic aisle; city proprietors say that the ruling will lead to layoffs, reduced work hours and a loss businesses, while labor leaders contend that the timeline is too gradual. The first wage boost is set to take place in July 2016, when minimum wage will increase to $10.50 per hour. Until then, it could be difficult to predict what effect the boost will have.

Los Angeles is now the biggest city to adopt a wage increase: will nearby cities follow suit?


George Abou-Daoud, Proprietor and chef of several LA restaurants

Tracy Rafter, Founding CEO, Los Angeles County Business Federation also known as BizFed - a not-for-profit advocacy organization

Chris Tilly, Director UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Urban Planning 

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