Los Angeles Becomes Latest City to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

City Council passes vote to increase wages to $15 an hour

minimum wage

(Image: File)

The nation’s second-largest city, Los Angeles, voted Tuesday to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, in an effort to close the gap between its low wages and high cost of living.

The 14-to-1 vote by the City Council is a sign of significant victory for labor groups and their allies who have been fighting for a national minimum wage increase. Several other cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago have already approved increases above the federal minimum wage level of $7.25, with dozens of others putting forth efforts to do the same.

Despite the cost of living in Los Angeles being 50 percent above national average, nearly half of the city’s workforce earns less than $15 an hour.

“The effects here will be the biggest by far,” New York Times reports University of California, Berkeley economist Michael Reich saying. “The proposal will bring wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s. There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing.”

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Supporters of higher wages say they hope Los Angeles’ latest move will influence other major cities to follow suit. Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced he was considering a wage increase for local fast food workers, which could be enforced without a vote in the State Legislature. Currently, the minimum wage in New York is $8.75 and will rise to $9 by the end of 2015.

Earlier this year, on New Years Day, over 3.1 million Americans were affected by a pay raise that was set to take place in 20 states. While there are few cities whose wage increases have been approved to hit $15, Los Angeles’ latest move will serve as an extra push for labor groups to get other regions across the nation to raise their pay to similar levels.