Last September Eric Garcetti announced a plan called Raise the Wage LA, which seeks to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles from $9 to $13.75 by 2017 and again to $15.25 by 2019. On May 1, 100,000 petitions—signed by voters from every district— asking for a slightly more drastic change were delivered to the Los Angeles City Council. Not only would advocates like to see an increase from $9 to $15.25, they also want paid sick leave and strict enforcement that will prevent wage theft (an ongoing problem that can total up to $1.5 billion per year in unpaid earnings). The petitions were delivered to lawmakers in wheelbarrels, mop buckets, and shopping carts.
The petitions were garnered by a coalition of community activists, business leaders, labor organizers, clergy, and academics who have, confusingly, chosen to go by Raise The Wage, a name nearly identical to Garcetti’s initiative. While they remain separate entities, the mayor and Raise the Wage leaders are fighting for the same goal: eventually lifting 27% of our city’s residents out of poverty. It is unclear whether the collected signatures will affect the City Council as they prepare to vote on a minimum wage bill.