Amid cheers from labor and community supporters, 12 of the 15 Los Angeles City Council members voted Wednesday in favor of an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage for workers in large hotels to $15.37 per hour. The measure will apply to hotels with 300 rooms or more beginning in July 2015, and expand to hotels with 150 or more rooms one year later.
Prior to the meeting an eager crowd of activists and workers, dressed in yellow “Raise LA” T-shirts, gathered in the hall outside the chamber. Raise LA is the name of the movement behind the measure. After the item was introduced, councilmembers offered their views on the living wage ordinance. Councilmember Mike Bonin opened the comments with a statement about economic justice.
“A great unfairness is that people work full time for wages that do not bring them above the poverty line,” he said.
Members of the public then addressed the council,
The Los Angeles City Council today voted to raise the minimum wage for workers employed by the city’s largest hotels. According to City News Service:
The council voted 12-3 to approve the minimum wage, with council members Bernard Parks, Mitchell Englander and Paul Krekorian dissenting. Because the decision was not unanimous, the issue will come back for a final vote Oct. 1. If approved, hotels with 300 or more rooms would need to start paying the $15.37 minimum wage by July 1 and those with at least 150 rooms would have to comply by July 1, 2016.
Capital & Main will post a detailed story of the historic vote later today.
Thousands of low-wage workers in Los Angeles are poised to receive a substantial pay bump, depending on a critical City Council vote scheduled for Wednesday. On the table: a $15.37 hourly wage for hotel employees at some of the biggest and most lucrative non-unionized hotels in the City of Los Angeles.
In June a Los Angeles City Council committee directed city staff to draft an ordinance that would require hotels with 300-plus rooms to meet a $15.37 hourly wage benchmark by July 2015. Hotels with more than 125 rooms would have to meet the standard in 2016. The full council is expected to take up the proposal Wednesday morning after a Tuesday hearing at the Economic Development Committee.
Business interests complain that the measure would cost jobs, but proponents argue that tourism and the hotel industry are experiencing record growth and creating local jobs. A study prepared by the Economic Roundtable,
A man wearing the uniform and cap of a fast-food worker, his apron tucked into a pant pocket, approached a clerk at the Alameda County Social Service Agency. As he handed over documents for his public assistance benefits claim, the man explained how it had felt to be waiting in the lobby for the past several hours:
“I was the first here and the last to leave.”
“You should get a pay check!” the clerk responded.
The reality is that this man does “get a paycheck” from his minimum wage job, but finds himself unable to meet his basic needs. This is a common scene at my office in Oakland and public assistance offices across the country.
This month’s National Association of Social Workers’ theme is “All People Matter,” chosen to remind us of our profession’s commitment to improving social conditions for all.
In an economy where constant, unpredictable change is a given, wages are one of the few things that have remained reliably stagnant. However, a growing national movement to address this increasingly visible issue is taking shape. Locally, Raise LA, a coalition of labor and community groups organized by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), is part of a push to bring wages up to speed by advocating for better jobs in L.A.’s massive hospitality industry. According to a LAANE Raise LA report, “Residents, workers and businesses from communities across Los Angeles are united in the Raise LA Coalition in an effort to ensure that the city’s largest and most profitable hotels support the communities in which they operate.”
So why is Raise LA specifically focusing on hotels? One in 10 jobs in Los Angeles County is in the leisure and hospitality industry,