West Hollywood City Council votes to hike minimum wage to $17.64 an hour; highest in the country

The ordinance would take effect Jan. 1 for hotel workers and July 1 for all other workers.

Thursday, November 4, 2021
WeHo will soon have highest minimum wage in the US
EMBED <>More Videos

West Hollywood's city council passed a motion that will hike the local minimum wage up to $17.64 an hour, which would be the highest in the country.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- West Hollywood will soon have the highest minimum wage in the nation as its city council passed a motion to increase it to $17.64 an hour.

Wednesday's council meeting started at 6 p.m., but the vote passed overnight.

The ordinance would take effect Jan. 1 for hotel workers and July 1 for all other workers.

West Hollywood's current minimum wage ranges between $13 and $14 an hour depending on the number of employees each business has.

The city of Emeryville, California currently holds the record for America's highest minimum wage, after it raised it to $17.13 an hour this past July. In comparison, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn't budged since 2009.

West Hollywood explained in the ordinance that hiking the minimum wage would "keep workers and their families out of poverty" and "enable workers to meet basic needs and avoid economic hardship."

"I'm very much in favor of raising the minimum wage. I've had parents who worked low-income jobs, so I understand that kind of struggle," West Hollywood resident Taye Baldinazzo said. "And I just think everyone deserves to be able to live a normal lifestyle."

According to MIT, the amount needed to support oneself in Los Angeles, the living wage is $19.35 an hour.

"I have some friends that work $17 an hour jobs in some other places and they're still struggling, so I guess it's a good start, but I think we could do a little better," said Matthew Hendrickson, who works in West Hollywood.

But local business owners, some of whom say they're still making up on back rent from the pandemic, urged the council to give it some time.

"I just implore you to really give this a lot of thought because I do believe if we raise the minimum wage now it's going to be counterproductive," Lisa Vanderpump, West Hollywood restaurateur and reality TV star, said during the city council meeting.

Other business owners say the wage hike could force prices to increase, cut services or force the business to move out of West Hollywood.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.