LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL APPROVES $15.37 MINIMUM WAGE FOR HOTEL WORKERS

The Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved a massive minimum wage increase for thousands of hotel workers Wednesday over the objections of business and hotel industry groups.

Under the new rules, hotels with 300 or more rooms would have to pay their employees at least $15.37 an hour, effective July 2015. In 2016, the law would expand to include hotels with 150 or more rooms.

The vote was 12 to 3 with Council Members Bernard Parks, Mitchell Englander, and Paul Krekorian dissenting. Because the decision was not unanimous, the item will return for a final vote on October 1.

Maria Elena Durazo, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, praised the council’s decision.

“The men and women who work in this industry create enormous profits for the industry, and it’s time that we invest in them and not just in the brick and mortar of the buildings that they work in,” Durazo said. “They deserve better. The hotels can afford it.”

Industry leaders warn that the law would hurt the very people it is intended to help, arguing that hotels will be forced to cut jobs and hours as a result.

“There will be layoffs and terminations of 2,000 people,” said Michael Czarcinski, chairman of the Hotel Assn. of Los Angeles. “You will be able to empty this room 10 times.”

Business groups have already threatened to sue the city, claiming the rules unfairly target the hospitality industry. Council Member Bernard Parks echoed that sentiment Wednesday, saying such initiatives should not be “just for a specific union or industry or business.” Parks also expressed concern that the new law would result in layoffs.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is currently pushing for a citywide minimum wage of $13.25 an hour, has said he will sign the plan. Once passed, the latest proposal would constitute one of the highest minimum wages in the country.

Read more about Wednesday's vote here.


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