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San Gabriel Valley

Pasadena Council to Weigh 'Living Wage' Ordinance

May 21, 1997

The Pasadena City Council has agreed to consider adopting a "living wage" ordinance that would pay employees of city contractors at least $7.25 an hour and provide some benefits.

The 5-0 vote Monday, with two members absent, calls for city staff members to prepare a report on the financial impact of the ordinance. The council will take a final vote on the measure after the study is completed.

"There is a moral stand to take on paying people a wage on which they can feed their family and live," said Councilman Paul Little. "Cities need to lead by example and don't expect others to pay decent wages if they don't seek it."

The Pasadena law is expected to mirror an ordinance passed by the Los Angeles City Council. It is unclear how many employees would benefit from the Pasadena law.

"This is very significant," said Guido DeRienzo of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "Pasadena will become the second city in Southern California to have a living wage when this becomes law. It would guarantee that jobs are developed to end the cycle of poverty."

Unions leaders on Monday asked Pasadena officials to require all firms that receive money from the city, including companies that receive redevelopment funds, to pay a livable wage, About 40 contractors used by the city may have employees earning below the livable wage, City Manager Philip Hawkey said.

DeRienzo said that city workfare workers should be included.

City officials said they are concerned that summer youth internship programs would be threatened if higher wages were required.

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