Community, Workers, Want Living Wage in Long Beach; Hyatt Says No
October 1, 2012
A broad community coalition of workers, small business owners, students and faith leaders say it's time for hotel workers in Long Beach to have a living wage.
On the ballot in November is Measure N, a living wage ordinance which would require hotels with more than 100 rooms to pay their employees a minimum wage of $13/hour – that's about $2,000 a month. Other area hotels in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Anaheim all pay their workers at least $13.85/hour, and many workers make starting wages of $15/hour including health insurance.
More than 140 small business owners in Long Beach have endorsed Measure N. If passed, Measure N would keep $7 million a year in the local economy, as local workers have more money to spend.
But Hyatt is leading the charge against the minimum wage boost, as one of the largest single donor to the "No on N" effort. Campaign filings show Hyatt has poured over $135,000 into the campaign to stop hotel workers from earning $13 an hour. This is despite the fact that taxpayers have given the Hyatt Long Beach $76 million in direct subsidies.
Recently, supporters of Measure N held a Shop Hop event on Fourth Street Retro Row, where they visited small businesses and talked to community members about the importance of a living wage to the local economy. They produced a video of the event as a way to raise awareness about Measure N:
"People should be paid a fair wage," said Chris Giaco, co-owner of In Retrospect, a Fourth Street vintage clothing store. "It's a piece of a larger economic puzzle. To get any economy going, people need a little more money in their pockets."