SACRAMENTO — Angry waitresses, along with two Los Angeles-area legislators and several community groups, complained Tuesday that the state's proposed new minimum wage of $4.25 an hour is too little, too late.
One of the complaints is that the minimum wage increase from $3.35 an hour to $4.25 does not take effect until July 1.
Another is that the state Industrial Welfare Commission, in approving the increase, created a two-tiered wage system. Waitresses, waiters, students and other workers who receive $60 or more a month in tips will get a lower minimum wage of $3.50 an hour.
"It's ridiculous. It really makes me angry," said Scotty Lukse, a waitress at Brannon's Bar and Grill, a popular political hangout a block from the Capitol.
State Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd (D-Hawthorne) chose Brannon's to announce that they are pushing bills to establish the same minimum wage for all workers, and also to make the pay raise effective April 1, rather than July 1.
Last year, the Legislature approved a bill by Torres that would have set the minimum wage at $4.25 an hour and made it effective Jan. 1. But Deukmejian vetoed the bill, arguing that setting the minimum wage was the job of the five-member Industrial Welfare Commission, whose members are appointed by the governor.
A commission spokesman said the July 1 date was chosen because state law requires that a new minimum wage can take effect only on one of two dates, Jan. 1 or July 1. He said various legal requirements made the commission miss the January deadline.