Ordinance to Increase Minimum Wage for Select Workers in LA Hotels
On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, the Los Angeles City Council gave final approval to a minimum wage increase for workers in large hotels. Council members passed the ordinance in a preliminary vote last week, establishing a minimum hourly wage of $15.37 for workers at Los Angeles hotels with at least 125 guest rooms. If signed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the ordinance would go into effect in July 2015, creating one of the highest minimum wages in the country. The ordinance would apply first to hotels with more than 300 rooms. Those with at least 125 but fewer than 300 would have to comply by July 2016.
On Wednesday, the American Hotel & Lodging Association said in a statement that it plans to oppose the new wage rule in court. The Association has filed more than 20 public records requests between city officials and labor groups — who pushed for the ordinance — to try to figure out why the process for approving the $15.37 hourly wage was in their view rushed, said Troy Flanagan, vice president of state and local government affairs for the association. Flanagan believes the records will help determine whether the ordinance can be challenged in court once Mayor Eric Garcetti signs it into law.
Hotel industry representatives call the measure discriminatory because it does not include workers citywide, and say it was a strategic move by labor groups to encourage more hotels to unionize their workers. Under the ordinance, hotels with a unionized workforce can be exempted from paying the $15.37 hourly wage, if workers agree in their contract to relinquish that opportunity.
Mr. Garcetti, has expressed support for the hotel wage ordinance and has promised to sign it when it hits his desk. Separately, Mr. Garcetti is proposing a city-wide wage increase to more gradually raise the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour, from the current $9, over the next three years.
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