LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — There were some tense moments at City Hall this week as the mayor and local business groups expressed their disagreement with the Council’s handling of a secret provision in the minimum-wage framework.
Some critics say the council was trying to pull a fast one when a seemingly innocuous statement recently made by City Councilman Curren Price.READ MORE: Rain, Hail Fall On Parts Of Orange County
“In regards to paid time off, the policy should be consistent with existing city policies…” Price stated as he read the provisions of the minimum wage raises approved by a council committee this week.
What wasn’t made clear, and what and almost no one in the council chambers understood at the time, was that provision would require employers in Los Angeles to provide up to 12 paid days off a year for their workers.
When Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, and other business leaders found out what was going on, they realized that meant the same provision, hidden in the minimum wage framework approved by a council committee this week, would apply to all business in the city.
“I was shocked,” Waldman said. “All of a sudden in the final three minutes of the committee the chairman of the committee mentions something about paid time off, keeping it consistent with other policies. Then we realize once we look it up that they’re talking about 12 days of paid time off for every worker in this city. That’s a lot for businesses to handle.”
Mayor Garcetti was also upset, because there had been no studies done on the impact that could have on small local businesses.
There had been no public debate about the provision and it was tacked on to the minimum wage raise — one of the mayor’s top economic and citywide legislative priorities — without his knowledge or consent.
Some feared it could compromise the minimum wage framework.READ MORE: Crews Working To Contain Brush Fire Burning In Whittier Narrows Area
Waldman says they almost pulled it off.
“If we didn’t bring this up, it would have passed on Tuesday and it would have been a done deal,” he said.
Council President Herb Wesson denies anyone was trying “to pull a fast one.”
“When, again, I discovered there were people that wanted to have a prolonged conversation about this, what I quickly did was put this on a track so that we will have that conversation,” he said.
Wesson also denies that stripping the paid days off provision out of the minimum wage bill and dealing with it as a separate issue was a retreat.
“People can call it whatever they want. This is one of the biggest issues the city is going to deal with. If this needs more conversation then it will get more conversation. At the end of the day it’s not about a retreat, it’s not about a charge. It’s about putting something in place that is a benefit,” he said.
The leader of the L.A. County Labor Federation, Rusty Hicks, says this is not a significant setback for the movement to win paid days off for L.A. workers.
“The political machinations inside City Hall I think are less important as to what’s going on in this city and what working Angelenos really need in order to not just survive but to really thrive here in Southern California,” Hicks said.MORE NEWS: CDC Reverses Advisory Panel Recommendation, Includes High-Risk Workers In Booster Shot Eligibility
The minimum wage could get a vote at City Hall as early as next Tuesday while the paid days off bill will be the subject of a report by the council’s legislative analyst that will be delivered in late June.