As Workers Celebrate L.A.’s $12 Minimum Wage, Businesses Brace for Impact

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Jesus Matias, an employee for nine years, prepares dishes at Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles in an undated photo. The diner's owners worry about the impact of a $12 minimum wage. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

More than half a million Angelenos stand to get a raise this weekend, making the city the latest testing ground in the drive to boost incomes of bottom-rung workers.

Some businesses, facing a labor crunch, didn’t even wait for the new, $12 minimum wage to officially kick in.

Josh Loeb started doling out pay bumps among the 400 employees of his six mostly upscale restaurants about a month ago. He paid for it by inching up prices at those Santa Monica haunts, adding a dollar to an organic chicken, and 50 cents to a sandwich or salad.

“It’s got to come from somewhere,” said Loeb.

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