Local Clergy Urge City Council to Vote for Continuing Minimum Wage Increases on Pasadena's Faster Track

Faith leaders sign statement calling on Pasadena City Council to “do the right thing for low-income workers”

Published : Friday, February 8, 2019 | 6:38 AM

Local faith leaders and their followers shown demonstrating in July, 2015, prior to the Pasadena City Council taking its first steps towards what would become the city's own Minimum Wage Ordinance. Photo by Rachel Young for Pasadena Now.

A local activist group which traces its beginnings to the successful recent crusade to raise Pasadena’s minimum wage released a statement signed by 30 local faith leaders urging Pasadena’s City Council to vote Monday to amend a City ordinance and mandate a $15 per hour minimum wage in 2020.

California state law also calls for minimum wage increases, but Pasadena’s ordinance — passed just two weeks before the state’s law was signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown in April 2016 — follows a more aggressive time track, hitting the $15 per hour pay level on July 1 of next year.

The State’s plan doesn’t get there until 2022.

Pasadenans Organizing for Progress, known as POP!, on Thursday issued the following statement by local clergy in support of amending the City ordinance to achieve $15 per hour by 2020:

“Three years ago, the support of Pasadena’s religious leaders was critical to the successful campaign to get the City Council to pass a minimum wage law in Pasadena. Once again, a diverse coalition has come together to ensure that the Pasadena City Council votes YES to continue gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour by July 1, 2020.

In 2016, the Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to gradually raise the minimum wage in annual steps setting a goal of $13.25 hour by July 1, 2018 – like Los Angeles City and County. But, unlike the City of Los Angeles and LA County, the Pasadena ordinance is unique: it requires the Pasadena City Council to vote in February 2019 whether to continue with the last two raise steps on the path to $15.

The 2016 campaign was sponsored by a local coalition of religious, nonprofit, community, civic, labor, and other organizations called Pasadenans for a Living Wage (PLW) who worked tirelessly along with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) to achieve success.

Pasadenans for a Living Wage (PLW) has now become Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP!), a multi-issue organization that is committed to making Pasadena a more livable and inclusive city. POP! and NDLON are joining once again with local clergy to make sure our goal – what has become known nationally as the “Fight for $15” – becomes a reality.

There are some conservative forces in the city, including certain members of the Chamber of Commerce, who are trying to persuade the Mayor and City Council to break what we view as its 2016 promise and vote against raising the minimum wage.

In response, religious leaders from diverse institutions and faiths are building a grassroots campaign to push the City Council to continue the progress on the path to $15 per hour by 2020. The campaign includes people and organizations who supported the effort three years ago alongside many others who were not involved in that original campaign.

The minimum wage law has been a significant benefit to tens of thousands of Pasadena families. We have heard many low-income workers describe how the additional income has improved their families’ lives, making it easier for them to afford basic necessities such as rent, food, clothing and health care.

The lives of low-income families will be even better, however, if the City Council votes to continue increasing the minimum wage to $14.25 per hour on July 1, 2019 and $15 per hour on July 1, 2020. Studies demonstrate that lifting families out of poverty creates an array of benefits, including improving health and student achievement among children from low-income families.

We want to keep Pasadena on a level playing field with its neighbors in Los Angeles and Altadena. Pasadena residents who work in LA and Altadena come home and spend their added income in Pasadena’s businesses. Pasadena, LA, and Altadena residents who work in Pasadena help improve the region’s economy with the additional income and buying power. The City Council should not remove Pasadena from what we view as the regional wage rate in the City and County of Los Angeles.

As religious leaders, we take seriously Scripture’s call to care for our neighbors, especially the poor and marginalized of our communities. This is a moral, economic, and spiritual issue, and we stand firm in our commitment to seeing our beloved City pursue justice for its workers.

If the Pasadena City Council fails to vote YES to continue the minimum wage increases, it is essentially cutting the wages and incomes of the families who work hard and play by the rules but have a hard time making ends meet in this expensive city. We want Pasadena not only to be the “City of Roses,” but also the “City of Raises.” As it says in Proverbs 14:31, ‘Those who oppress the poor insult their maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him.’”


Reverend Glory Bautista, Pasadena Mennonite Church

Joe Bautista, Urban Village of Pasadena

Rev. Dr. Phyllis Beech, First AME Church

Pastor John B. Bledsoe, Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church

Reverend Mark Bradshaw, St. Barnabas

Evangelist Darrell Burch, Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church

Reverend Larry Campbell, First AME Church

Dr. Clifton Clarke, Fuller Theological Seminary

Reverend Matthew Colwell, Knox Presbyterian church

Reverend Dan Davidson, Rose City Church and Rose Bud Coffee

Rabbi Aimee Gerace, Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center

Rabbi Joshua Grater, Friends in Deed

Pastor Philis Griffin, First AME Church

Rabbi Marvin Gross, Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center

Reverend Lissa Gundlach, Neighborhood Church

Rector Mike Kinman, All Saints Church

Pastor Kerwin Manning, Pasadena Church

Pastor Cory Marquez, New Abbey Church

Reverend Bert Newton Ordained by Pasadena Mennonite Church

Reverend Sandy Olewine, First United Methodist Church of Pasadena

Reverend John Pomeroy, First Congregational Church of Pasadena

Reverend Marlene Pomeroy, First Congregational Church of Pasadena

Reverend Mariann Reardon, Pasadena Mennonite Church

Reverend Timothy Reardon, Pasadena Mennonite Church

Dr. Jill Shook, Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group

Pastor Tyrone Skinner, Metropolitan Baptist Church

Pastor George Van Alstine, Altadena Baptist Church

Pastor Beau Wammack, Northland Village Church

Reverend V. Edward White, Sr. First AME Church

Pastor Camille Wooden, Abundant Life Covenant Bible Church

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