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In LA and Nationwide, Working to Raise the Wage

May Newsletter
May 26, 2015
Bend the Arc

Bend the Arc Southern California supporters and leaders met with LA City Council Members to gain support for raising the wageThe battle to raise the minimum wage has reached fever pitch in the past few months. Across the country, on both the state and federal level, there is a push to raise the minimum wage which has remained mostly stagnant in recent decades. Further, new studies demonstrate companies that pay workers a sub-standard minimum wage force them to social services, a vicious cycle that puts pressure on state and federal programs.

Committed to ensuring economic opportunity for all, Bend the Arc is engaged on the issue on both the national and local level.

Nationally, Bend the Arc Jewish Action threw its support and lobbying efforts behind the Raise the Wage Act which seeks to increase the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020. Adjusted for inflation, this would return the spending power of the federal minimum wage to what it was in the late 1960s. The bill was introduced with an unprecedented amount of support with 33 senators and 162 representatives as cosponsors as well as the White House supporting the legislation.

In Los Angeles, Bend the Arc Southern California joined the local Raise the Wage coalition and our local leaders met with City Council Members to build support for the $15 minimum wage with strong enforcement. On March 19, their efforts paid off as Los Angeles’ City Council voted 14-1 to take steps to raise the city’s minimum wage from $9 to $15 by 2020, raising the wages of nearly a million Angelenos.

The victory in Los Angeles is the latest in a sea change across the country to address the issue of income inequality. Large corporations such as Wal-Mart and Gap have already raised the minimum wage for their employees (if modestly), and cities such as Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle preceded Los Angeles.

This is just the first step towards an America that affords the same opportunities to all its citizens. As attention turns to the next round of cities yet to take action, including New York, and to Congress, Bend the Arc remains committed to ensuring that working families have the ability to afford basic rights such as health care and housing.