Several black community groups Monday urged the state Industrial Welfare Commission to increase the state minimum wage to $5.01 an hour from $3.35.
"We all see the minimum wage as depriving blacks and other minorities and keeping them in a state of poverty," said the Rev. Bill Johnson of the South-Central Organizing Committee. "They are unable to eat nutritionally and not able to pay adequate rents and medical bills. When you only make $134 a week, you lack something and usually it's food and medicine."
Johnson was one of several representatives of black groups attending a news conference in Los Angeles to announce their support of an increase in the minimum wage. Also represented were the Los Angeles Urban League, the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
The Industrial Welfare Commission is expected to decide Dec. 18 whether to raise the minimum wage to a recommended $4 an hour or to raise it to $5.01.