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$15 an Hour Minimum Wage Could Be on 2015 Ballot

minimum wage
Labor friendly groups are hoping to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in Los Angeles. (Thinkstock)

A man from Seattle has already come to Los Angeles and driven up the price of one of the City’s professional sports franchises. Another group of people are now congregating in Los Angeles in hopes of engaging the City’s voters to support a minimum wage hike and potentially outdo a similar campaign in Seattle.

Accordingly, if former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ever gets hands on the Los Angeles Clippers – the NBA franchise he is ready to pay $2 billion for – none of his employees would earn less than $15 per hour if the movement to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles were successful.

Known as “15 Now,” the grass-roots group of activists urging cities and states to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour have officially made Los Angeles a focus, with members of the organization arriving in the city just a few weeks ago.

With 15 Now looking to hire a full-time organizer to operate a campaign for minimum wage increases across California, the organization’s expansion into Los Angeles comes on the heels of multiple news reports that an initiative could be on the ballot by Spring 2015, asking voters to approve a $15 per hour minimum wage.

If the initiative is allowed to be placed on the ballot and then approved by voters, workers within the City of Los Angeles would earn at least $15 per hour.

The ballot initiative proposal was reportedly submitted to the City Attorney’s office last week by a labor coalition known the Los Angeles Workers Assembly. This weekend, the coalition is planning an assembly at Los Angeles Trade Tech College in Downtown L.A. to speak out in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

At the July 19 rally, the Los Angeles Workers Assembly will also be discussing the ballot initiative it is backing.

The ballot initiative is a different process than what 15 Now participated in during its minimum wage hike campaign in the Emerald City. In Seattle, it was the City Council that reportedly approved the $15 per hour minimum wage. According to one news report, the 15 Now organizers lost some steam during the City’s deliberations, losing as many as 90 percent of its supporters by the time the Seattle City Council lodged its vote.

A ballot initiative would give Los Angeles voters the decision of whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, meaning groups such as 15 Now and Los Angeles Workers Assembly are likely to maintain active participation between now and next spring’s election.

Also, the ballot initiative would likely seek to have the $15 per hour wage initiated immediately, compare to Seattle where the minimum wage hike would be implemented in phases during the next seven years.

Accordingly, if the 15 Now and Los Angeles Workers Assembly campaign were successful next year, the $15 per hour minimum wage hike would symbolically occur in 2015.

There is already a separate policy being considered at Los Angeles City Hall, where the 15 council members are expected to soon vote on a motion to require workers at medium and large hotels within city limits to be paid at least $15.37 per hour.

State Senator Mark Leno introduced Senate Bill 935 (SB 935) earlier this year, proposing to establish a $13 per hour minimum wage for the entire State. However, the bill did not get enough votes from the State Assembly’s labor committee on June 25 to move forward, meaning SB 935 is officially dead and the $13 per hour minimum wage proposal is off the table.

Stay tuned to WestsideToday.com for updates on this issue.

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