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Pasadena Clergy Supports Raise in Local Minimum Wage

The statement with the clergy signatures and associated congregations was present to the City Council by Rabbi Marvin Gross on Jan. 29. – Courtesy photo / Facebook, @POPpasadena

They call on the Pasadena City Council to vote in favor of the gradual increases

Three years ago, Pasadena’s religious leaders expressed support for the campaign to get the City Council to pass a minimum wage law in Pasadena. Once again, a diverse coalition has gathered to, according to Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP!), “help ensure that the Pasadena City Council keeps its promise to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by July 1, 2020.”

In 2016, the Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to gradually raise the minimum wage in five annual steps setting a goal of $15 hour by July 1, 2020 – like the City of Angels and County. However, unlike LA and the County, the Pasadena ordinance requires the City Council to vote this February on whether to continue with the last two steps to raise the minimum wage on the path to that $15 goal.

The 2016 campaign was sponsored by a local coalition of religious, nonprofit, community, civic, labor, and other organizations called Pasadenans for a Living Wage (PLW) who worked along with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). PLW has now become POP!, a multi-issue organization that is committed to “making Pasadena a more livable and inclusive city.” POP! and NDLON are joining once again with local clergy to make sure their goal – what has become known nationally as the “Fight for $15” – becomes a reality.

In a written statement the coalition of religious leaders expressed fears that there “are some conservative forces in the city, including certain members of the Chamber of Commerce, who are trying to persuade the mayor and City Council to break its 2016 promise and vote next month against raising the minimum wage.” In response, religious leaders from diverse institutions and faiths are building a grassroots campaign to convince the City Council to continue on its path towards a $15 minimum wage.

The group claims they “have heard many low-income workers describe how the additional income has improved their families’ lives, making it easier for them to afford basic necessities such as rent, food, clothing and health care.” It is for this reason that the coalition wants to ensure that the City Council votes to continue increasing the minimum wage to $14.25 per hour on July 1, 2019 and $15 per hour on July 1, 2020.

The thirty-one religious leaders ended their written statement with the following:

“We want to keep Pasadena on a level playing field with its neighbors in Los Angeles and Altadena. Pasadena residents who work in LA and Altadena come home and spend their added income in Pasadena’s businesses.  Pasadena, LA, and Altadena residents who work in Pasadena help improve the region’s economy with the additional income and buying power. The Pasadena City Council should not dismantle that regional compact.

“As religious leaders, we take seriously Scripture’s call to care for our neighbors, especially the poor and marginalized of our communities. This is a moral, economic, and spiritual issue, and we stand firm in our commitment to seeing our beloved city pursue justice for its workers.

“If the Pasadena City Council fails to keep its promise, it is essentially cutting the wages and incomes of the families who work hard and play by the rules but have a hard time making ends meet in this expensive city. We want Pasadena not only to be the ‘City of Roses,’ but also the ‘City of Raises.’ As it says in Proverbs 14:31, ‘Those who oppress the poor insult their maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him.’”

January 29, 2019

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