Pasadena Clergy Supports Raise in Local Minimum Wage. Call on Pasadena City Council to Do the Right Thing for Low-income Workers

Following is a Statement signed by 31 Pasadena area clergy who call on the Pasadena City Council to do the right thing for low-income workers. The Statement with the clergy signatures and associated congregations was presented to the Pasadena City Council by Rabbi Marvin Gross in the Council Chambers during the council meeting on Monday, January 29, 2019.The letter calls on the council to vote YES on February 11, 2019 to amend the City’s minimum wage ordinance so that the minimum wage continues to rise until it reaches $15 on July 1, 2020.

January 27. 2019

Pasadena Clergy Supports Raise in Local Minimum Wage
Call on Pasadena City Council to Do the Right Thing for Low-income Workers

Three years ago, the support of Pasadena’s religious leaders was critical to the successful campaign to get the City Council to pass a minimum wage law in Pasadena. Once again, a diverse coalition has come together to help ensure that the Pasadena City Council keeps its promise to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by July 1, 2020. In 2016, the Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to gradually raise the minimum wage in five annual steps setting a goal of $15 hour by July 1, 2020 – like Los Angeles City and County. But, unlike the City of Los Angeles and LA County, the Pasadena ordinance is unique: it requires the Pasadena City Council to vote in February 2019 whether to continue with the last two raise steps on the path to $15.

The 2016 campaign was sponsored by a local coalition of religious, nonprofit, community, civic, labor, and other organizations called Pasadenans for a Living Wage (PLW) who worked tirelessly along with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) to achieve success.
Pasadenans for a Living Wage (PLW) has now become Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP!), a multi-issue organization that is committed to making Pasadena a more livable and inclusive city. POP! and NDLON are joining once again with local clergy to make sure our goal – what has become known nationally as the “Fight for $15” – becomes a reality.
There are some conservative forces in the city, including certain members of the Chamber of Commerce, who are trying to persuade the Mayor and City Council to break its 2016 promise and vote next month against raising the minimum wage.

In response, religious leaders from diverse institutions and faiths are building a grassroots campaign to push the City Council to continue the progress on the path to $15 per hour.

The campaign includes people and organizations who supported the effort three years ago alongside many others who were not involved in that original campaign.

The minimum wage law has been a significant benefit to tens of thousands of Pasadena families. We have heard many low-income workers describe how the additional income has improved their families’ lives, making it easier for them to afford basic necessities such as rent, food, clothing and health care.

The lives of low-income families will be even better, however, if the City Council votes to continue increasing the minimum wage to $14.25 per hour on July 1, 2019 and $15 per hour on July 1, 2020. Studies demonstrate that lifting families out of poverty creates an array of benefits, including improving health and student achievement among children from low-income families.

We want to keep Pasadena on a level playing field with its neighbors in Los Angeles and Altadena. Pasadena residents who work in LA and Altadena come home and spend their added income in Pasadena’s businesses. Pasadena, LA, and Altadena residents who work in Pasadena help improve the region’s economy with the additional income and buying power. The Pasadena City Council should not dismantle that regional compact.

As religious leaders, we take seriously Scripture’s call to care for our neighbors, especially the poor and marginalized of our communities. This is a moral, economic, and spiritual issue, and we stand firm in our commitment to seeing our beloved City pursue justice for its workers.

If the Pasadena City Council fails to keep its promise, it is essentially cutting the wages and incomes of the families who work hard and play by the rules but have a hard time making ends meet in this expensive city. We want Pasadena not only to be the “City of Roses,” but also the “City of Raises.” As it says in Proverbs 14:31, “Those who oppress the poor insult their maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him.”

[List in progress as of January 27, 2019]
Reverend Glory Bautista Pasadena Mennonite Church
Mr. Joe Bautista Urban Village of Pasadena
Rev. Dr. Phyllis Beech First AME Church
Pastor John B. Bledsoe Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church
Reverend Mark Bradshaw St. Barnabas
Evangelist Darrell Burch Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church
Reverend Larry Campbell First AME Church
Dr. Clifton Clarke Fuller Theological Seminary
Reverend Matthew Colwell Knox Presbyterian church
Reverend Dan Davidson Rose City Church and Rose Bud Coffee
Pastor Michael Field Fellowship / Monrovia
Rabbi Amy Gerace Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
Rabbi Joshua Grater Friends in Deed
Pastor Philis Griffin First AME Church
Rabbi Marvin Gross Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
Reverend Lissa Gundlach Neighborhood Church
Rector Mike Kinman All Saints Church
Pastor Kerwin Manning Pasadena Church
Pastor Cory Marquez New Abbey Church
Reverend Bert Newton Ordained by Pasadena Mennonite Church
Reverend Sandy Olewine First United Methodist Church of Pasadena
Reverend John Pomeroy First Congregational Church of Pasadena
Reverend Marlene Pomeroy First Congregational Church of Pasadena
Reverend Mariam Reardon Pasadena Mennonite Church
Reverend Timothy Reardon Pasadena Mennonite Church
Dr. Jill Shook Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group
Pastor Tyrone Skinner Metropolitan Baptist Church
Pastor George Van Alstine Altadena Baptist Church
Pastor Beau Wammack Northland Village Church
Reverend V. Edward White, Sr. First AME Church
Pastor Camille Wooden Abundant Life Covenant Bible Church