Los Angeles is Biggest City to Enact $15 Minimum Wage

Los Angeles has become the biggest city in the nation to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Los Angeles City Council members voted 13-1 today to more than double the federal wage by 2020.

Los Angeles City Council members signaled two weeks ago that they would raise the minimum wage, and took the final vote today at their regular meeting.

During the earlier meeting, Kevin Litwin of Main Street Alliance of California, spoke in support of raising the wage even higher.Watch his testimony here: https://youtu.be/C2kEs8D3ZIY

“I am the Chief Operating Office at Joe’s Parking, and a member of the Main Street Alliance. Together we are support raising the L.A. minimum wage to $15.25. When Joe’s Auto Parks was founded in 1959 minimum wage was just $1 an hour. We didn’t pay the minimum then, and we don’t pay the minimum now. For over 50 years we have been committed to offering fair wages and attracting the best and brightest employees to manage our locations. That’s how we grew to one of the largest operations here in downtown L.A. We strongly hope you pass this and raise the wage to $15.25,” said Litwin.

The Council chambers were packed with more than 100 residents of the city, the vast majority supporting the minimum wage increase, and dozens of workers and community leaders providing comment echoing Litwin’s support.

After hearing the support and concerns of those in attendance the Council turned in a 14-1 vote in favor of raising the city’s wage to $15 gradually over the next 5 years. The full council vote next week before being written into law. The first wage bump will occur in July of 2016 when wages will rise to $10.60 an hour annually on their way to $15 by 2020.

Los Angeles joins Seattle and San Francisco, cities that recently passed laws to phase in a $15 minimum wage over several years. Chicago passed a minimum wage increase that plateaus at $13.

Cities and states throughout the country are discussing and debating minimum wage increases, including Maine, where Maine People’s Alliance is circulating petitions for a minimum wage referendum.

 

Maine Mothers, Children Visit Sen. Collins in Support of Immigration Reform

Maine mothers and their children visited the office of Senator Collins in Portland to deliver a crucial message to Maine’s Senior Senator: No mother in this country should have to worry about having her family torn apart by our broken immigration system.

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Maine People’s Action and its members are actively fighting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. They recently held a rally on May Day, and have been successfully placing grassroots voices in front of elected officials.

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Medicaid Makes a Difference Report

Congress is locked in a budget battle that’s grabbed round-the-clock media attention. Lost in the coverage are the real stakes in the debate, including the lives of the more than 50 million people covered by Medicaid, which is now in the budget-cutting cross-hairs. More than half of these 50 million are people of color. Racial disparities in health coverage have already reached alarming proportions. Cuts to Medicaid would make these disparities even worse, taking a toll on the real lives of real people.

The experiences and perspectives of some of these real people are captured in Medicaid Makes a Difference: Protecting Medicaid, Advancing Racial Equity, from the Alliance for a Just Society and 14 members of its Health Rights Organizing Project, a network of grassroots organizations across the country committed to the fight for health equity.
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Maine Small Business Owners Discuss Expiring Bush-Era Tax Cuts

Early on a Friday morning in September, before setting off on their usual daily tasks, three business owners, all members of the Maine Small Business Coalition, gathered in a cluttered corner of an antiquarian bookstore in Bangor, Maine. Rick Schweikart, Bill Lippincott, and Suzanne Kelly, accompanied by the Chair of the Appropriations Committee in the State House of Representatives, Emily Cain, had come together to discuss a hot button political issue: the Bush-era tax cuts. Continue reading “Maine Small Business Owners Discuss Expiring Bush-Era Tax Cuts”

Maine Small Business Owners Take on Big Insurance

photo of Melanie Collins being interviewed by a reporter at a rally

Big Insurance and its Bag of Tricks

The ink may have dried on the federal health care reform bill, but the health insurance industry isn’t packing up its bag of tricks and going quietly into the night. Instead, insurers actually appear to be stepping up their attempts to game the system, seeking to exploit the window of opportunity before new rules and regulations take effect. They’re scheming  to (a) inflate their rates, (b) kick customers with health issues off their rolls, and (c) employ creative accounting to reclassify costs, all in the interest of maximizing short-term profits. Continue reading “Maine Small Business Owners Take on Big Insurance”