Twenty years ago a small group of Los Angeles faith leaders – both clergy and lay people – sat around a table in a church library and came up with a name for a new advocacy organization. We were convened by Maria Elena Durazo, then head of the local hotel workers union, and Madeline Janis, founding director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. The group would bring the voice of the religious community into the debate at City Hall to establish a living wage.
That idea was simple enough. If the city contracted out work to private companies, the employer had to pay more than minimum wage, something closer to what the minimum wage would have been if it had kept pace with inflation.