City Leaders Move to Draft Living Wage Ordinance for Hotel Workers

City Officials Move to Draft Living Wage Ordinance for Hotel Workers

The City’s Economic Development Committee Launches the Drafting of the Ordinance, which would raise wages at large hotels in the City impacting thousands of working residents and protecting businesses facing financial hardship

 LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Economic Development Committee approved the drafting of a Living Wage Ordinance for Hotel Workers Tuesday that would phase-in a wage of $15.37 at large hotels in Los Angeles.

 City Councilmembers Curren D. Price Jr., Nury Martinez and Mike Bonin co-introduced a motion earlier this year that launched an effort to set a living wage at hotels in Los Angeles. Despite the economic recession, the hotel industry in Los Angeles has maintained record high occupancy rates and revenues per room available. Still, 43% of hotel workers in Los Angeles County earn wages that place them below the federal poverty line, according to the Economic Development Department.

 On Tuesday, the Economic Development Committee approved a request to have the City Attorney begin drafting an ordinance that would phase in the proposed minimum wage increase at large hotels over the next three years, which would also provide relief to hotel owners facing financial hardship.

 “Los Angeles has always been a progressive leader, setting an example for the state and the nation. It is time that we begin to address the “barbell economy” that we have seen grow so rapidly in our city and that has so many negative impacts on our community at-large,” said Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. “As our city continues to work towards increasing the quality of life for all residents, today’s action is a logical step in the right direction.” 

Taking into consideration feedback from stakeholders, City staff, as well as the findings of the report presented by outside economic analysis firm Blue Sky Consulting Group, the Committee approved the drafting of an ordinance that would take effect on July 1, 2015 for hotels with 300 or more rooms, and phased in by July 1, 2016 for hotels with 125 or more rooms. Additionally, the ordinance would allow exemptions for hotels to protect those facing financial hardships and prevent employee layoffs. It also ensures that service charges paid by hotel clients who have booked events and banquets are given to hotel workers.

In 2007, the Los Angeles City Council passed a living wage ordinance for workers employed in hotels near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and in 2009 it expanded that effort to include higher wages for airport employees. The living wage for airport employees has resulted in higher pay and benefits for low-income families, and the hotels around LAX have continued to thrive. The City of Los Angeles has also made significant financial investments to ensure the success of the local hotel industry which include, maintaining free public tourist destinations, upgrading the Convention Center and helping to build a more efficient public transportation system. The City also continues to offer generous tax incentives to hotel developers who bring their new projects to the city. 

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