Coalition Will Ask City Council to Support Strong Policy to Raise 6,500 Long Beach Families Out of Poverty
Long Beach, CA – Dozens of low-income working parents, nonprofits, researchers, and small business owners in support of raising the minimum wage attended the Long Beach Economic Development Commission hearing at Long Beach City Hall. They advocated for Long Beach, as the second largest city in the County, to develop similar standards adopted by both the City and County of L.A. with a $15/hour wage, strong wage enforcement, additional paid sick days, and no exemptions. Ultimately, the Commission voted to advance the minimum wage policy to the full City Council after conducting months of several hearings as directed by Mayor Garcia. The City Council is expected to conduct its final vote on the policy later this month.
“We believe that the City Council and Mayor would only adopt a policy that helps Long Beach residents escape poverty and support their families–not the opposite–despite the Commission’s recommendations for low wages and exclusion,” said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and a co-convener of the Campaign to Raise the Wage. “The research shows that raising the wage to $15/hour without exemptions will ensure an inclusive, sustainable economy in Long Beach. We call upon city leaders to vote for a complete minimum wage increase with wage enforcement and paid sick days.”
Though Long Beach was historically a middle class aerospace job hub, many residents have since suffered from stagnation in wages and concentrated poverty. A study by the Economic Roundtable found that a $15/hour wage increase would infuse an estimated additional $442 million in sales revenue and add 3,186 new jobs to the region, while a recent poll found that 70% of residents support raising the wage to $15 per hour with no exemptions for nonprofits or small businesses.
Long Beach workers presented loaves of bread and roses to the commissioners in tribute to the Epiphany holiday commemorating collectivist humility and generosity. They also presented to a New Year’s Resolution urging the Commission to end poverty for all working families in the City of Long Beach by passing a $15 minimum wage policy with no exemptions.
“Working in retail and only making minimum wage means that I struggle to keep my head above water. I live paycheck to paycheck and help pay the rent for my family in a one bedroom apartment in Downtown, where rents are rising,” said Joshua Jimenez, a Long Beach resident and member of the Filipino Migrant Center (FMC). “We need the City Council to stand strong and make sure that younger workers like me are paid a living wage of $15/hour with strong enforcement so we can afford to stay in Long Beach.”