Santa Monica, CA Living Wage

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Santa Monica, CA, US

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Type: Resolution & Ordinance

Status: Adopted by city council on 5/22/01 and then repealed by voters

Source File: http://www.mckeown.net/lvngwage.html

Resolution Text:

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA ADDING CHAPTER 4.65 TO THE SANTA MONICA MUNICIPAL CODE CREATING MINIMUM WAGE REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO BUSINESSES IN THE COASTAL ZONE AND EXTENDED DOWNTOWN CORE WITH GROSS RECEIPTS OVER $5,000,000 AND TO THE CITY AND ITS SERVICE CONTRACTORS

WHEREAS, the public welfare requires wages and benefits sufficient to ensure a decent and healthy life for workers and their families; and

WHEREAS, many Santa Monica employers pay wages so low as to imperil the public welfare; and

WHEREAS, many Santa Monica workers receive no health care benefits and therefore cannot protect their own health and the health of their families; and

WHEREAS, many Santa Monica workers cannot participate in civic life or pursue educational, cultural and recreational opportunities because they must work such long hours to meet their households’ most basic needs; and

WHEREAS, workers who do not receive adequate wages must rely upon federal, state and local public assistance and social services funded by taxpayers and may never escape poverty; and

WHEREAS, workers who do not receive health care benefits may be unable to maintain their own health or the health of their children, may be forced to utilize publicly- funded health and emergency care services, and may unintentionally imperil the health of others; and

WHEREAS, workers who do not have sufficient income and time off work to participate in the civic affairs and to pursue educational, cultural and recreational opportunities may become alienated from their communities, their states and their nation; and

WHEREAS, minimum wage laws promote the general welfare by ensuring that workers can support and care for their families through their own efforts and without governmental intervention; and

WHEREAS, creating decent job opportunities through minimum wage and benefit laws is a better way to protect individuals and families than public assistance because the availability of decent job opportunities fosters independence, self reliance and family unity; and

WHEREAS, laws mandating or encouraging the provision of health care benefits to workers promote the general welfare by minimizing health risks to the general population and reducing the cost of emergency and other health care to the taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, minimum wage and benefit laws also assure workers the means and leisure to participate in civic life and pursue educational and cultural opportunities and thereby strengthen the fabric of our society; and

WHEREAS, minimum wage and benefit laws also benefit employers and the economy as a whole by improving employee performance, reducing employee turnover, lowering absenteeism, and thereby improving productivity and the quality of the services provided by employees; and

WHEREAS, in recognition of these realities, the federal government mandates the payment of a minimum wage; and

WHEREAS, in recognition of the fact that the cost of living and other circumstances vary substantially through the United States, federal law explicitly authorizes states and municipalities to set more stringent wage standards than those established federally; and

WHEREAS, the State of California has exercised its power to set a minimum wage higher than the minimum set by federal law in part because the cost of living in California is higher than in most states; and

WHEREAS, the California Legislature has recognized that localities may need to set more stringent wage standards than those set by state law and has therefore specifically authorized the adoption of such standards in Labor Code Section 1205; and

WHEREAS, in Opinion Number 89-502, the California Attorney General has recognized the power of local governments to set wage requirements higher than those set by state law; and

WHEREAS, the federal minimum wage has declined steadily in real dollars for two decades; and

WHEREAS, the California minimum wage has also declined in real dollars; and

WHEREAS, the California minimum wage is inadequate to meet the needs of workers in the Los Angeles region where the cost of living is much higher than in most parts of the state; and

WHEREAS, housing costs in the region are particularly high relative to most parts of California, and low-income workers must therefore spend a disproportionate percentage of their income sheltering themselves and their families; and

WHEREAS, disproportionately high housing costs force workers to locate far from their jobs and spend long hours traveling to and from work; and

WHEREAS, the taxpayers of the Los Angeles region must pay the cost of meeting workers’ needs through the provision of social services because the state minimum wage is not adequate to meet those needs; and

WHEREAS, a minimum wage standard which condemns a full-time worker’s family to abject poverty is simply inadequate to achieve the long-recognized and salutary goals of the minimum wage laws; and

WHEREAS, the inadequacy of the state minimum wage is particularly detrimental to the public welfare in Santa Monica where the cost of living is very high and where thousands of workers labor long hours at very low-paying jobs; and

WHEREAS, the highest concentration of low-income workers in Santa Monica is in the coastal zone and the extended downtown core; and

WHEREAS, this same area is home to some of the City’s largest and most profitable businesses, including luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and large, national retailers which can afford to pay their employees decent wages and can pass the cost of paying increased wages to consumers; and

WHEREAS, most workers in this area are heads of household who bear primary responsibility for supporting their families; and

WHEREAS, eighty per cent of these workers have incomes inadequate to meet their families’ basic needs; and

WHEREAS, the vast majority of these workers have no private health insurance; and

WHEREAS, tourists staying in the hotels in this area may pay more than $400.00 per night for their rooms, but the workers changing their bedding and serving their food cannot support their own families; and

WHEREAS, businesses in this area have reaped the benefits of various City policies and investments; and

WHEREAS, the City has actively improved this area through capital investments, operating expenditures, the promotion of tourism and the adoption of policies which restrict growth and limit competition among certain businesses; and

WHEREAS, these investments, expenditures and policies have fostered huge profits for some businesses in the area which employ large numbers of low-wage workers; and

WHEREAS, the City Council wishes to adopt a local requirement to effectuate the purposes of the federal and state minimum wage law, to address the needs of workers, and to promote the public welfare; and

WHEREAS, increasing the wages of low-wage workers will help achieve Santa Monica’s sustainable city goals by helping low-wage workers live closer to work, reducing commute distances, and facilitating use of public transit; and

WHEREAS, the City Council also wishes to protect local businesses and their employees by ensuring that no business suffers economic hardship so severe as to render it nonviable as a result of this ordinance; and

WHEREAS, the Council wishes to take all possible action to address the problems caused by inadequate wages and benefits, and Council therefore intends that the severance doctrine shall be liberally applied to effectuate the policy served by this law,

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

(Refer to source file for text of ordinance.)

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