Newly-Named City Manager Steve Mermell to Appear in ACLU Minimum Wage Forum Tuesday Night

Forum will ask: "With $15/Hour Coming, What's Next?"

Published : Monday, July 11, 2016 | 6:56 PM

Tuesday night, the American Civil Liberties Union will present a forum which looks at “what’s next” on the path for activists who pushing for higher minimum wages.

Although some California cities and the State passed legislation raising wages incrementally over coming years, there are related issues which will be discussed at the forum.

On July 1, the City of Pasadena implemented its new Minimum Wage Ordinance which likely will eventually lead to low-wage workers making $15/hour.

Pasadena was not alone. The cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica have also begun to implement similar ordinances.

In addition, some jurisdictions have authorized programs to prevent “wage theft”  — failing to pay for overtime work, firing workers without giving them a final paycheck — and outreach to low-wage workers impacted by new ben­efits and protections.

This ACLU forum will consider the effectiveness of these “path to $15” efforts to relieve poverty and address how new minimum wage ordiances and the State statute will work together.

The organizers of this event write, “Low wage workers, business owners, and all of us concerned about Amer­ica’s overwhelming economic inequality will want to attend.”

Featured participants are expected to be:

  • Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), considered the Cesar Chavez of the jornaleros for spearhead­ing efforts to overturn ordinances that prohibit day laborers from soliciting work in public places and for forming alliances with union federations, which tend to see immigrants as competitors.
  • Henry Gascon, Manager of Program and Policy Development of United Ways of California and co-author of Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015, which introduces a new poverty measure that he believes conveys the true cost of living in California’s communities.
  • Steve Mermell, the new City Manager for the City of Pasadena, who has worked his way up the ranks from purchasing administrator, budget administrator and deputy di­rector of finance before becoming an assistant city manager and now assuming his current duties. Under his administration, Pasadena has adopted a new minimum wage ordi­nance, authorized a local enforcement mechanism and will fund an outreach program to reach low wage workers.
  • Michelle White, Moderator. ACLU-SoCal Pasadena/Foothills Past President and Chair of the Chapter’s Economic Justice Committee, which advocates for wage equality, af­fordable housing and renters’ rights.

The event will be held Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church, 301 North Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena. The event is free and open to the public.

For more info, contact Joanna Amador, ACLU SoCal Pasadena/Foothills Chapter, (626) 427-7950 or chap-pasadena@aclusocal.org.

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