For immediate release
May 4, 2012
In record time, coalition files measure to qualify for November ballot
In just six weeks, the Long Beach Living Wage Coalition has collected some 30,000 signatures to qualify the city ordinance for the November ballot. In what would normally be a multiple-month campaign, a huge team of volunteers and canvassers went door-to-door talking to Long Beach residents about the need for a Living Wage for hospitality workers in the City of Long Beach.
"As a cook at the Hyatt Long Beach, I take care of the tourists who support our local businesses. My co-workers and I deserve a wage that allows us to take care of our families as well," said Ben Leonen, a Hyatt worker who will participate in Friday’s press conference at 1 pm outside Long Beach City Clerk office at 333 W. Ocean Blvd.
But because many hotel workers wages are too low, they are forced to depend on welfare just to get by.
Romeo Trinidad has worked at the Hilton Long Beach for more than 10 years. He makes $10.81 per hour–about $432 per week. Annually, that’s $22,484 before taxes. He pays $750 a month for a one-bedroom apartment for his family of four. He qualifies for public assistance to pay for housing, electricity and gas.
"Long Beach voters understand that when workers make a living wage, the whole community benefits. They have money leftover to visit a local restaurant or take their kids to the movies—to really participate in the local economy instead of relying on social services," said Sonya Clark, a life-long Long Beach resident who gathered signatures. Clark will speak at Friday’s press conference.