Raise the Wage LA: Campaigning for Living Wages in Los Angeles and an Emergent Working-Class Repertoire
Keywords:Minimum wage, Fight for $15, working-class mobilisation
In a relatively short period in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and the Occupy movement, minimum wage campaigns rapidly gained momentum across the United States. In particular a purposeful working-class mobilisation of the Los Angeles labour movement in coalition with worker centres and community organisations, and set against the backdrop of the national Fight for $15, deployed a range of tactics and exercised political leverage from 2014-2016 to be successful in securing an increase in the minimum wage to $15 in the U.S.’s second most populous city, in its most populous state. Based on interviews conducted in Los Angeles in December 2016 this article describes L.A.’s Raise the Wage campaign in a framework of mobilisation theory (Kelly 1998; Tilly 1978). It is argued that the elements of mobilisation theory are present and that the mobilisations in L.A. of the kind studied represent an expansion of working-class repertoire.