L.A. City Council Votes 14-1 to Move Toward $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

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The Los Angeles City Council tentatively agreed Tuesday to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, joining a trend sweeping cities across the country as elected leaders seek to address stagnating pay for workers on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder.

The ordinance would boost the $9 an hour base wage to $15 by 2020 for as many as 800,000 workers, city officials say, and make L.A. the largest U.S. city to adopt a major minimum-wage increase. Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle already have adopted similar laws.

"Make no mistake," said Councilman Paul Krekorian, who was instrumental in shaping the wage increase plan's final form. "Today the City of Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the nation, is leading the nation."

Tuesday's 14-1 vote was the latest demonstration of organized labor’s clout at City Hall. Through close to a year of often-emotional debate, labor leaders never gave ground on their central demand that the minimum wage rise to at least $15. Their City Council allies ensured that a less far-reaching wage increase proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to allay concerns in the business community was marginalized in the final months of discussion.

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