Grassroots activism to raise L.A.’s minimum wage isn’t all local


By Bre Payton |

NOT ALL LOCAL: Jose Vanderburg of Seattle’s 15 Now said he would work to bring a higher wage to LA.

A grassroots campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Los Angeles reaches beyond city borders.

The Los Angeles Workers Assembly on Saturday hosted a town-hall-like forum at Los Angeles Trade Technical College to talk about getting their initiative on the ballot.

Speakers and activists from towns such as Seattle and San Diego, which recently increased the minimum wage, spoke in support of a similar move in Los Angeles.

“We’ve been sent down here” to bring $15 an hour to LA, said Jose Vanderburg from 15 Now, the activist group that worked with Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant.

The San Diego chapter of the People’s Power Assembly, the activist arm of the International Action Center, which has profiled, attended in support of the wage hike.

Members of SEIU spoke in support of the increase, as did several

Fight Imperialism Stand Together representatives at wage hike event in LA.

members of Fight Imperialism Stand Together.

FIST is a youth activism arm of the Workers World Party, a socialist group that’s a fan of North Korea and its leaders. WWP is part of the Solidarity Center in New York, which also houses IAC and PPA.

One man with FIST, who identifies himself as Khamel in a video shot at the meeting, laments the gentrification projects in L.A., including Union Station, which, since its renovation, no longer allows him to sleep there.

Representatives from the Party of Communists operated a booth stocked with literature.

Representatives from the Party of Communists attended an activist meeting to hike the minimum wage in LA. They had a booth and handed out literature.

Joseph Hancock, a leader of the Party of Communists, offered some tips and tricks to ensure the proposal makes it to the ballot.

“When you play by their rules, you have to make sure you take care of business, because if you don’t you will not win,” he said to the crowd.

“Taking care of business” includes ensuring friends and family of the signature gatherers are registered to vote and the group meets deadlines when it comes to submitting the signatures to the city clerk.

The next step in getting the wage increase proposal on the ballot is an informational meeting Aug. 9 at the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, a meeting place for the LA chapter of IAC.

Sharon Black of the People’s Power Assembly anticipates the petition will be ready.

Bre can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter, @bre_payton.