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Business Owners Clash With Workers Over 'Raise The Wage'

Jessica Oliveira |
September 2, 2014 | 4:03 p.m. PDT

Contributor

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Labor Day a proposal for raising the city’s minimum wage. 

Garcetti announced the “Raise The Wage LA” plan that would increase the current minimum wage of $9 to $10.25 with an overall expected plan to continue increasing annually until the minimum wage is at $13.25 by 2017.

(Jessica Oliveira / Neon Tommy)
(Jessica Oliveira / Neon Tommy)

Councilwoman Nury Martinez also attended Garcetti’s announcement on Monday at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The 6th Council District that Martinez represents includes the central and eastern San Fernando Valley neighborhoods. 

“I represent one of the neediest communities in the San Fernando Valley. My neighbors are those janitors, are those house keepers, are those secretaries. They are the working people of this city, I represent them every single day,” said Martinez. 

SEE ALSO: The Consequences Of Raising The Wage

Throughout the towns in the 6th District area, local Angelenos have different reactions to Garcetti’s wage plan. 

Yari Najar, a 20-year-old minimum wage employee at Dollar Tree in Panorama City, had to turn down college in order to work and help support her mother. 

“I stress out a lot because I start to think about my mom. My mom just told me that her boss is sick now, so she will only be working three days a week, so this will definitely help out with the stress, because I know I will be able to help her out,” said Najar.

Najar believes that this plan won’t affect her in any negative way. She stated that once the minimum wage increases she will “finally go back to school and probably won’t be working that much because I’ll get better pay.” 

Various residents San Fernando Valley held opposing opinions. Matt Simms, an unemployed student, stressed that increasing the minimum wage could potentially cause “a huge spark in costs and everything will go up.” 

Inflation wasn’t the only worry Simms had. He also stressed that finding a job after the potential increase of minimum wage could cause difficulties since employers may not be able to afford new employees at a higher rate. 

Eduardo Nava, father of three, is worried about the interaction between the wage increase and inflation. (Jessica Oliveira / Neon Tommy)
Eduardo Nava, father of three, is worried about the interaction between the wage increase and inflation. (Jessica Oliveira / Neon Tommy)

“Right now I don’t have a job, so it will be tough because people might not want to pay the increased minimum wage,” said Simms. 

Eduardo Nava, an employee at Panorama City’s Ross Dress for Less also believes that an increase in minimum wage would cause a domino effect on inflation. 

“The important thing is, if you’re going to increase the inflation, the same rate should be increased in minimum wages, so that it balances. I’m on salary, and if inflation goes up 2 percent, then my salary should go up 2 percent,” said Nava. Nava, a father of three boys, worries about inflation and how it can affect his family. “In the majority of this area, especially in LA County, there is a lot of people working for minimum wage, it might help the people, but at the same time it might hurt the businesses. So one for the other,” said Nava. 

Local business owners in Panorama City also feel that the increase of minimum wage could evoke major problems for their companies. 

The owner of Dolce Pet Grooming, Julianna Rivadeneira, believes that the plan could cause serious dilemmas. Rivadeneira employs three workers, one of which is paid minimum wage.

She said that it would be unfair for present employees to be paid at the same rate as incoming employees, therefore forcing her to raise the present employees hourly wage. 

Mayor Garcetti stated that the increase of wage will also benefit local businesses. “Overall we’re all going to have to adjust to it, and make the best of it,” said Rivadeneira.



Julianna Rivadeneira worries her business, Dolce Pet Grooming, will be negatively affected by Garcetti's proposal. (Jessica Oliveira / Neon Tommy)
Julianna Rivadeneira worries her business, Dolce Pet Grooming, will be negatively affected by Garcetti's proposal. (Jessica Oliveira / Neon Tommy)

The research study conducted by UC Berkeley “showed that a higher minimum wage would reduce worker turnover and absenteeism which is terrible for a business, provides greater stability and productivity while lowering recruiting and training costs for business,” said Garcetti.

District 6 Councilwoman Martinez explained to Monday’s crowd that “we have to make Los Angeles the most progressive, livable city in the country, and we have to do that together.”

As many District 6 locals stressed, local businesses could fall into major issues because of the wage increase, Martinez pointed out that this plan would keep local businesses secure.

“I don’t want to leave big businesses or small business owners behind in our communities, the council president and I will be introducing the business tax reform proposal in the next couple of weeks because we get it,” said Martinez. 

Reach contributor Jessica Oliveira here. Follow her on Twitter here.



 

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