In September 2014, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-3 in favor of a historic new law creating a $15.37 per hour minimum wage for people working in big hotels in Los Angeles. This is the now one of the highest local minimum wages set in the United States with the potential to change the lives of 15,000 working people and their families.
The measure was backed by the Raise L.A. coalition, made up of hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 11 members, non-union hotel workers, LAANE, the L.A. Federation of Labor, 35 community organizations, churches, and 17 neighborhood councils.
The City Council members who championed the measure noted that, while the hotel industry thrives because of the tourism investments local government approves, the average L.A. hotel worker takes home just $18,000 per year. Under Raise L.A., hotel employees will earn an additional $9,000 per year. This boost will stimulate consumer spending and related economic activity by an estimated $71 million per year, which is why hundreds of small businesses signed on to Raise L.A., too.
Revenue for the industry’s largest hotels are projected to top a record $1 billion in 2014, but evidence shows that staff aren’t seeing that growth in their paychecks. Of the past decade, this year saw the lowest percentage of hotels’ total room revenue going toward worker compensation.
Raise L.A. will affect the approximately 60 hotels in Los Angeles with more than 150 rooms, requiring them to pay all workers a minimum of $15.37 per hour. In addition to boosting wages, the policy will give workers five paid sick days and protect tipped earnings. These benefits apply to all workers in the hotels, whether the workers are there as direct employees or through subcontractors. The measure will be implemented in two phases through July 2016.
UNITE HERE has a strong track record raising standards for working people across Los Angeles. Over the past 15 years, we have gotten more involved in politics, working with City Council to pass living wages at Los Angeles International Airport and then at nearby hotels. Cities across the country have replicated these measures.
Read some of the great press coverage here:
- Los Angeles Times: “L.A. City Council Approves Minimum-Wage Hike For Hotel Workers”
- Wall Street Journal: “Los Angeles Approves Raising Minimum Wage for Large-Hotel Workers”
- CBS Los Angeles: “Los Angeles City Council Approves Minimum Wage Hike For Hotel Workers”