Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The fight for a higher wage in Los Angeles has brought together students, home care workers, fast food employees, and many more. (Photo: Fight for 15 LA/Facebook)

In Victory for Growing Workers Movement, LA Passes $15 Minimum Wage

'If we can win $15 in one of America’s most populous cities we know it will give momentum to workers around the country who are fighting for the same thing.'

Lauren McCauley

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to approve a $15 an hour minimum wage, becoming the largest U.S. city to adopt a living wage.

The ordinance would boost the $9 an hour base wage to $15 by 2020 for as many as 800,000 workers. Los Angeles now joins Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, which have already adopted similar laws.

Advocates were quick to praise the 14-1 vote, calling it a "huge" boost for the country's growing workers' rights movement.

Albina Ardon, a McDonald’s employee from Los Angeles and a member of the minimum wage advocacy group Fight for $15 LA, said that the win illustrates the power of grassroots organizing and paves the way for other cities to pass living wage laws.

"People used to think we had no chance, but we are steadily winning the fight by demanding $15 an hour to lift our families out of poverty," Ardon said. "If we can win $15 in one of America’s most populous cities we know it will give momentum to workers around the country who are fighting for the same thing."

"People like me, who work hard for multibillion-dollar corporations like McDonald’s, should not have to rely on food stamps to survive," she continued. Ardon, a mother of two and ten year employee of McDonald's, currently makes $9.95 an hour. The vote comes amid a growing push by workers and anti-poverty advocates for U.S. cities to protect workers amid a growing wealth gap.

The federally mandated minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 since June 2009.

Los Angeles council members are also considering a motion to require paid sick leave, a provision that was initially inserted in the minimum wage legislation but removed over the objection of local business leaders. On Tuesday, the lawmakers agreed to consider that policy separately.

The wage increase will now be submitted to the city attorney’s office, which will draft an ordinance that will return to council members later this year for approval, the Los Angeles Times reports. Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign the wage boost into law. The wage will initially be set at $10.50 an hour as of July 2016.

See unfolding reactions on Twitter under the hashtags #raisethewage or #RaiseadEnforce15.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA's Environmental Justice Office 'Won't Make Up for' Manchin Deal, Campaigner Says

"We've seen a lot of structural changes on environmental justice in the Biden, Obama and Clinton administrations, but we need to see the results," said Wes Gobar of the Movement for Black Lives.

Julia Conley ·


Historic Tropical Storm Fiona Sweeps Homes Into Ocean in Eastern Canada

"Climate change leads to warmer ocean water at higher latitudes," said one Canadian civil engineering professor. "A warmer future increases the probability that more intense storms will reach Canadian coasts."

Julia Conley ·


Federal Judge Allows 'Untenable' Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

"The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families," said one children's advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Catastrophic': Arizona Judge Allows 1864 Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," said one rights advocate.

Julia Conley ·


US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo