Calif. Reaches Deal for $15 Minimum Wage

Nation-leading wage could be in place by 2022
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2016 12:03 AM CDT
Calif. Reaches Deal for $15 Minimum Wage
Workers hold a rally in Los Angeles last summer in support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' proposed minimum-wage ordinance.   (Nick Ut)

California legislators and labor unions have reached a tentative agreement that will take the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour, a move that would make for the largest statewide minimum in the nation by far. "Everyone's been operating in good faith and we hope to get it through the Legislature," Democratic state Sen. Mark Leno tells the AP. Gov. Jerry Brown sent the proposal to the Legislature on Monday, and it could be back on his desk as soon as Thursday. Under the proposal, the minimum wage would rise gradually, reaching $15 by 2022. After that, wages would rise with inflation, though in tough economic times the governor could delay increases.

The minimum wage in California and Massachusetts is already $10 an hour, topped only by $10.50 in Washington, DC. "I'm hoping that what happens in California will not stay in California, but spread all across the country,” Brown told reporters at the state Capitol, per the Los Angeles Times. "It's a matter of economic justice. It makes sense." If the Legislature approves a minimum-wage package, it would avoid taking the issue to the ballot. One union-backed initiative has already qualified for the ballot, and a second, competing measure is also trying to qualify. (Los Angeles already plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020.)

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