The opponents of the proposed Long Beach Living Wage are just getting organized. They’ve run an ad on Craigslist offering “a very competitive hourly wage” of $15 an hour to fight a measure that would guarantee a modest $13 an hour and five sick days for about 2,000 workers –housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers and janitors — who labor in the largest Long Beach hotels. I find it ironic that the opponents of Measure N themselves are offering more than the Living Wage proposal would mandate, clearly aware that $13 an hour isn’t a high enough wage to attract even part-time workers. Yet their campaign messages suggest the hotel Living Wage could do drastic damage to the city’s economy.
“We’re going to reach out to the residents of Long Beach at the grassroots level, neighbor to neighbor and relay our message- No on N,” says the job posting. If theirs were truly a grassroots campaign they would have plenty of community volunteers lined up to talk to Long Beach voters.
So begins the conversation with undecided voters about the Long Beach living wage measure on the November ballot.
Most Long Beach hotel workers live, work and shop in the city. And if the hotel living wage passes, they’ll have more money to put into the Long Beach economy.
More than 100 volunteers and supporters gathered last Saturday to pick up information packets and start knocking on local doors. It was hot in the church classroom where they assembled, but the mood was electric.
More than 140 small business owners are supporting Measure N, as are local religious leaders and city council members Suja Lowenthal and Steve Neal.
College students and retired folks, LGBT activists, Cambodian youth organizers, religious leaders and politicians were all excited to be working together to change conditions for the city’s 2,000 hotel workers and to shake up the political environment in Long Beach.