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How will LA's wage hike affect its workers and businesses?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
El Portal Theatre 5269 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601 Map and directions

On Tuesday, July 7, AirTalk’s Larry Mantle convened a panel of industry leaders and workers, government officials, and employment strategists to address the effects and implications of LA City Council’s influential vote to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 for KPCC’s live event “Minimum wage: The future of the hourly worker in LA” at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Panelists included George Abou-Daoud, Kathy Hoang, Michaela Mendelsohn, Paul Krekorian, Nicole Shahenian, Tracy Rafter, and Chris Till.

L.A.'s City Council voted last month to raise the city’s $9 minimum wage to $15 by 2020. Only one council member voted against the hike.

On Tuesday, July 7, AirTalk’s Larry Mantle sat down at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood with local representatives, employment strategists, industry leaders and workers affected by the pay boost to address the implications of L.A.’s wage increase.

“The impact of a higher minimum wage has been positive on local economy and job growth for the restaurant industry in San Francisco and Seattle,” said Kathy Hoang, Director of Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles.

But can Angelenos expect the same?

We rounded up a few points from Tuesday's talk, including the three big questions that Mantle and his panelists addressed:

How will the minimum wage increase likely affect LA’s restaurant industry?
How will the wage hike transform the City of Los Angeles?
What is the regional impact of L.A.’s minimum wage raise?

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is looking to follow the City of Los Angeles’s lead and is likely to pass a wage increase that would ultimately go to $15 by 2020, affecting the unincorporated parts of L.A.

"It's a bold experiment, but we need some bold experiments. Inequality has grown so much, it's time to really try to raise the floor and diffuse those benefits," said Tilly.

What do you think of the wage hike? How do will it affect you, your community? Do you agree or disagree with our panelists?  Let us know in the comments!

See more photos from the event on our Facebook page. 


George Abou-Daoud, Restaurant Proprietor and Chef; Co-founder of the Neighborhood Restaurant Coalition of Los Angeles - representing over 1,000 independent LA restaurants

Kathy Hoang, Director, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles

Michaela Mendelsohn, Owner of El Pollo Loco franchise locations with over 33 years of experience in the industry; transgender activist

Paul Krekorian, City Councilmember for the 2nd district encompassing the San Fernando Valley

Nicole Shahenian, Vice President of Government Relations, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce   

Tracy Rafter, Founding CEO, Los Angeles County Business Federation, also known as BizFed

Chris Tilly, Director of UCLA's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment 

This event is part of the AirTalk 30th anniversary tour.