Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to raise the local minimum wage from $9 to $15 an hour by 2020. The New York Times editorial board came out strongly in favor of the raise while debunking common myths, highlighting the growing class divide, and calling out the restaurant lobby for its greed:
Opponents of higher wages — generally, business groups and their political allies — have raised the same objections in Los Angeles that have been raised since the dawn of the federal minimum wage in 1938: that higher pay will lead to layoffs and business closings or business migration. But experience and research involving actual minimum wage increases indicate otherwise: The added cost of higher wages is offset by savings from lower labor turnover and higher labor productivity. […]
The restaurant industry, however, will not go down without a fight. The Los Angeles City Council has pledged to study the potential effect of allowing restaurants to add a service charge to bills to meet the increased costs. It is past time, however, to stop coddling an industry that has come to regard itself as entitled to special dispensation. If restaurants can’t pay their servers the minimum wage, they need to pay higher earners less or raise prices. If restaurants are franchises that can’t afford to pay adequate wages, their corporate parents should share the burden.
Continue reading A $15 Minimum Wage Bombshell in Los Angeles