February 6, 2023 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

As LA and Santa Monica Raise Minimum Wage Culver Remains Behind

By Sam Catanzaro

As many local jurisdictions enter a new fiscal year this month many employees are getting a raise thanks to new minimum wage increases, but workers in Culver City will not get in on this extra cash.

As of July 1, 2019, small businesses in Santa Monica, Pasadena and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County with 25 or fewer employees must pay a minimum wage of $13.25. Large businesses of 26 or more employees must pay a minimum wage of $14.25. By 2020 and 2021, large and small businesses will be required to pay employees a minimum of $15 per hour in these areas.

While Culver City will arrive at a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2023, the City has chosen to remain in lock-step with the state with regard to minimum wage. The current minimum wage in Culver City is $11 per hour for businesses with less than 26 employees and $12 per hour for businesses with more than 26 employees. These rates will increase by $1 per hour until 2023.

Despite these changes, workers’ rights advocates are emphasizing the need for outreach and enforcement, cautioning that the new wage rate won’t automatically increase paychecks. Industries such as restaurant, custodial, and household work experience particularly high rates of wage theft. In industries like garment and car wash where piece rate pay is commonplace, workers often can’t work fast enough to earn the minimum wage.

Sergio Santos, a day laborer, is worried of stagnant wages while his cost of living soars.

“Day laborers shouldn’t be left behind, especially because rent and living cost is increasing so much in Los Angeles. But the increase alone isn’t enough to ensure that employers do not violate our rights and pay fair wages. I lived through the abuse of an employer who mistreated me by not paying me all my regular wages and overtime. Employers know that we need the job and they use this to their advantage,” Santos said.

John L. Reamer, Jr., Director for the Bureau of Contract Administration that houses the City’s Office of Wage Standards, agreed. “Every hardworking Angeleno deserves the opportunity to earn a living wage, support their families, and contribute to stimulating the local economy. Today, the City of Los Angeles is closer to achieving this goal through annual minimum wage increases and the commitment of our Office of Wage Standards to protect vulnerable workers from experiencing wage theft.”

Since its inception in 2016, Reamer’s office has processed 452 valid complaints and closed 263 cases, recovering $289,342.63 in unpaid minimum wages affecting over 2,800 workers and 138,700 hours of paid sick leave affecting nearly 4,000 workers.

Joseph M. Nicchitta, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, said, “An increased minimum wage is a driving force in the economic development of Los Angeles County. The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs is dedicated to both enforcing the wage ordinance and educating workers and employers in unincorporated Los Angeles County about how to remain complaint with wage laws. If you believe you are covered by the Los Angeles County minimum wage ordinance, please call us at (800) 593-8222.” 

Other stakeholders are demanding greater enforcement of overtime, meal and rest breaks, and other basic workplace rights. LA City’s Office of Wage Standards and County’s Department of Business and Consumer Affairs have authority over minimum wage and Fair Chance Hiring, but none over other basic wage rights. Flor Rodriguez, Director of the CLEAN CarWash campaign, said, “80% of low-wage workers in LA who work overtime don’t get paid the overtime rate. Another 80% work through their meal and rest breaks, often under the hot sun or without taking necessary bathroom breaks. Without accessible enforcement and remedies, workers are just as vulnerable as they were before LA increased its minimum wage. We want local offices to enforce more rights soon.” Hugo Solid, a restaurant worker, agreed: “There are laws that say what is happening to us are wrong and that we have the right to our meals, and our break, and to be paid our proper wage for the overtime we work! But what is the point of the laws if only the state can enforce them? We need the city of Los Angeles to stand with us in the fight to hold our employers accountable to these laws!”

Another issue facing LA working is discrimination that prevents being considered for employment. Both State and local Fair Chance Hiring laws prohibit employers from any inquiries into a job applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Natonia Franklin, Black worker and mother whose misdemeanor was expunged, recounted being asked about her criminal history during numerous job applications. “Being denied employment in violation of LA’s Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance is another form of wage theft,” said Natonia. “If I can’t even get a job due to illegal discrimination, then $15 an hour doesn’t help me.”

Related Posts

Property Transfer Tax Measure ULA Heads to Court as Landlords and Taxpayers Association File Lawsuit Against LA City

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

Measure is intended to fund affordable housing and tenant assistance programs through a property transfer tax By Dolores Quintana Measure...

A Luxurious Mar Vista Home Has Hit the Market for $3,395,000

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

Ashwood Avenue home offers 3080 square feet of living space  A stunning four-bedroom, five-bathroom home has hit the market in...

Ratkovich Company and JPMorgan Secure $41 Million Loan for Culver City Office Development

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

Project is located near the intersection of Jefferson and Obama Boulevards. By Dolores Quintana JP Morgan and the Ratkovich Company...

Culver City Approves Construction of 165,000-Square-Foot Office Building on Watseka Avenue

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

Four-story development set to be complete in 2025 or 2026 The City of Culver has given the green light to...

Chef Jason Neroni Introduces Best Bet Pizza to Washington Boulevard

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Best Bet to open in former A-Frame space on Washington Boulevard By Dolores Quintana It’s official, chef Jason Neroni will...

Free Bahn Mi Sandwiches for Mar Vista Restaurant’s 4 Year Anniversary

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

My Lai party to feature free Banh Mi Sandwiches, gift card prizes, and other goodies!   By Dolores Quintana On February...

California’s Ambitious Fast-Food Law Heads to Statewide Referendum for Final Verdict

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

AB 257 would create a board of 11 appointees to negotiate on behalf of fast food workers in California Last...

Mayor Bass Launch New Initiative to House Homeless at Culver Boulevard Encampment

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

Two Inside Safe initiatives launched in South LA and Westside By Sam Catanzaro City officials have announced a new effort...

Girl Scouts Return to Los Angeles With Delicious New Cookie!

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Cookie lovers throughout Greater Los Angeles can now support local Girl Scout entrepreneurs by ordering from the iconic lineup Girl...

Boris Allakhverdyan, Ben Hong and Talon Smith Unite in Santa Monica for Special Performance of Brahms’ Trio Op. 114

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Concert will take place on Sunday, February 5 The world-renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Principal Clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan and Associate Principal...

70 Culver High AVPA Students Descend on CETA for High School Theater Arts Festival

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

CCHS Senior Ginger Anderson-Willis took home first place in the “Trailer” category 70 Culver City High School students from the...

Metro’s Choice for Purple Line Muralist Sparks Veteran Concern

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Veterans concerned over disturbing painting by commissioned metro muralist at the purple line stop on the West L.A VA Soldiers...

Mayor Karen Bass Makes Moves in her New Administration to Combat Homelessness

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Mayor appoints three Deputy Mayors and three Directors last week Mayor Karen Bass has wasted no time in the transition...

CCUSD Board Shines Spotlight on Elementary Schools, Reacts to Monterey Park Shooting

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Board of Education celebrated the collective efforts of their elementary schools by recognizing the Five Pillars of Supporting Student Need...

TikTok Sparks Surge in Kia and Hyundai Thefts in Los Angeles

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Social media platforms exacerbate vehicle thefts through security flaws Kia and Hyundai vehicles have become a major target for car...