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This week I attended the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors meeting to testify at an important hearing on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 in unincorporated areas of the county that are outside jurisdictional boundaries of incorporated cities. The board voted to move forward with the ordinance by a 3-2 vote. The county’s ordinance is congruent to the one approved by the City of Los Angeles last month. Together, the two ordinances subject about half of the county to the minimum wage increase. Although Torrance businesses are not directly subject to the wage mandate, some are deciding to raise their wages to keep good employees from leaving for higher wage paying areas.
Torrance restaurants are especially concerned by this phenomenon of local labor competition. At the hearing, I was joined by three Torrance business owners who will be forced to raise their wages to match the half of the county paying higher wages. I appreciated hearing the testimonies from Bob Brandt, owner of Red Car Brewery and Restaurant, Chef Michael Shafer, owner of the Depot and Buffalo Fire Department Restaurants, and Kirk Rossberg, owner of Torrance Bakery. Their insights to how they will be affected by the increased costs were enlightening, and necessary, for our elected officials to hear.
Bob Brandt noted that each incremental dollar increase will cost his business $160,000 per year, culminating in total costs of $800,000 by 2020. Kirk Rossberg said the added costs will force him to raise his prices by 31%. Chef Shafer expressed concern that the added costs limit his ability to donate to local charities.
Even though the vote was not in TACC’s favor, I am pleased with the fast-action the Chamber was able to take to gather dozens of opposition letters leading up to the vote and for the unified front we displayed at the hearing. I’d like to close by saying, “thank you” to all of our Chamber members who submitted a letter and to Bob, Kirk, and Michael for taking the time to represent the Torrance business community at the hearing. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator height_2=”25″ height=”25″ show_border=”yes_border”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]posted by
Donna is the President & CEO of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce. Do you have questions about or concerns for business in Torrance? Donna would like to know. Feel free to contact her at any time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]