Santa Monica Passes a Landmark Law Guaranteeing Workers a Living Wage; Local Businesses Saythey'll Repeal It

July 26, 2001

The Santa Monica City Council yesterday, by a 5-2 vote, passed an historic living wage law. The new law is first inthe country to require all businesses, even those not on city land and not receiving city contracts, to pay theirworkers a living wage of $10.50 an hour plus $1.75 for health benefits.

The living wage law passed after months of organizing by community, labor and religious groups, including a majorcampaign last November to thwart an anti-living wage initiative supported by local businesses. That anti-living wagemeasure was defeated four to one.

Hotels and restaurants in the city’s downtown and beachfront area, where the new living wage law will take effect,have pledged to repeal the ordinance and are beginning a signature campaign today to call for a referendum. They saythe living wage is illegal, unnecessary, and will force local businesses to eliminate many low wage jobs. Inresponse, a broad-based community coalition is mounting a campaign to protect the new law and to urge voters not tosign petitions calling for a referendum.


  • Tom Larmore, chair of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce living wage task force.
  • Madeline Janis-Aparicio, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LANE).

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