MEDIA … WHAT THEY’RE SAYING-Amid Los Angeles City Hall’s push to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020, some city lawmakers say they already are paying at least that hourly rate to the gardeners, housekeepers and baby sitters who work at their homes.
South LA and downtown City Councilman Curren Price, who co-introduced the minimum wage ordinance, employs a housekeeper and pays her more than $20 an hour, a Price spokeswoman said.
Price declined to release her name, citing privacy concerns.
On the east side of Los Angeles, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell pays two gardeners $60 a month for about an hour’s work total at his home, an O’Farrell spokesman said.
Like Price, O’Farrell — and the other council members who responded to this news organization’s questions about outside workers — declined to release the names of the workers.
Council members earn $184,610 annually, among the highest in the country for city lawmakers.
Those making the $9-an-hour minimum wage earn about $16,000 annually, according to a UC Berkeley study commissioned by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Asked what hourly wages council members pay for household services, about half the 15-member council declined to comment or didn’t respond to the request.
City Councilman Felipe Fuentes, who represents parts of the San Fernando Valley, has contracts with businesses that provide household services and a child care provider, all of whom he pays above $15 an hour, his spokeswoman said.
The councilman also pays for vacation and sick time, she said.
Valley Councilman Bob Blumenfield and his family also hire employees to handle home maintenance and child care-related tasks, a Blumenfield spokesman said.
Those employees “earn decent wages in excess of $15 per hour in addition to vacation, sick time, social security and other benefits,” the spokesman said.
The hourly mean wage for housekeepers and cleaners in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region is $12.17, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure is $11.06 for child care workers.
Amid sometimes emotional debates about the minimum wage and economic inequality, several council members have cited their humble upbringings in arguing for a citywide pay hike.
At a council meeting two weeks ago, Price recalled growing up in a working-class family in South LA, while Councilwoman Nury Martinez said her father made $13,000 a year as a dishwasher.
In raising wages, Los Angeles is poised to join Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle in hiking citywide pay.
Garcetti first proposed the hike last year, telling crowds at a South LA event that the city’s $9 wage is a “poverty wage.”
Garcetti resides in the Getty House, the official mayoral residence, with his family. Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman said the mayor pays any worker in his household “at least” $15 an hour.
At least three City Council members — Gil Cedillo, Tom LaBonge and Bernard Parks — said they don’t hire any outside workers. Parks, who has two grandchildren, said: “I baby-sit periodically for free.”
(Dakota Smith covers City Hall for the Daily News. She can be reached at [email protected]. Posted originally by the Daily News.)
Vol 13 Issue 45
Pub: Jun 2, 2015