Council Could Vote Tonight for Faster Track Minimum Wage Hikes

Will first review two commissioned reports examining the current impact of minimum wage ordinance on local economy

Published : Monday, February 11, 2019 | 5:50 AM

The next phase of Pasadena’s Minimum Wage Ordinance will be considered Monday after the City Council reviews two commissioned studies of the economic impact the ordinance has exerted on the City’s businesses and residents.

Following discussion of both reports, the Council is scheduled to decide whether to amend the ordinance to mandate additional wage hikes in Pasadena which would raise the minimum wage to $15 by July 2020, two years ahead when the State’s law hits that mark.

The proposed amendment would also address continuing raises, tying future hourly wages after 2020 to the change in the Los Angeles-Riverside/Orange County consumer price index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

The battle lines are drawn on whether the Council should amend the ordinance.

Business leaders say they don’t oppose minimum wage increases in Pasadena, but they want the increases to occur later, on the State’s schedule, to give their businesses, customers and the market time to adjust.

Labor leaders urge the Council to stick to the earlier dates mentioned in the proposed ordinance amendment, equating the ordinance with what they characterize as an implied promise of raises up to $15 per hour on the 2020 schedule that the Council should honor.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce said last week that a January 2019 survey of its membership reveals that employers have cut workers’ hours, overtime, bonuses, and benefits – and sometimes eliminated them, to cope with the cost of the City’s mandated minimum wage requirements.

The Chamber asked the City Council to synchronize wage increases with the State of California’s “more deliberate” schedule.

“This is not a request that they roll back the current Pasadena minimum wage,” said a February 4 Chamber statement, “but simply defer increases so that the State of California will eventually catch up (and exceed) the Pasadena minimum wage.”

Meanwhile, Pasadenans Organized for Progress (POP!), a local activist group which traces its beginnings to the original successful crusade to raise Pasadena’s minimum wage, released a statement signed by 30 local faith leaders urging Councilmembers to vote Monday to amend the City ordinance and to mandate the $15 per hour minimum in 2020.

POP! also release the results of a January 16, 2019 telephone survey it commissioned which reportedly found that 81% of Pasadena’s voters support the continuing increases in the City’s minimum wage. POP! said the poll also found that there is overwhelming support among voters in all seven City Council districts, from 75% to 89%.

Both sides are expected to pack the Council Chamber tonight at City Hall for the hearing. The public meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and the minimum wage hearing should occur at about 7 p.m.

Pasadena City Hall is located at 100 North Garfield Avenue.

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