Now might be the best time ever to be a hotel employee in Los Angeles. At least, that’s the case if the hotel employee works at a hotel that has more than 125 rooms. This is because workers for big hotels in the area have been awarded one of the biggest minimum wages in the country. This was achieved thanks to civil rights groups and unions.
On Sept. 24, the city council of Los Angeles voted that employees who work at hotels with more than 125 rooms are required to get a minimum hourly wage of $15.37. This makes it one of the biggest minimum wages not only in the travel industry but in nearly any industry. This is a win that will not just be felt in Los Angeles. Other unions will use the ruling on this case across the United States to get their employees higher wages. It may soon work itself around the world.
Unions cheered in front of city hall as the vote was passed 12 to 3. This is a huge drawback for the hotel companies that warned that employees could lose their jobs. Ruth Dawson, who is a staff attorney and a member of the American Civil Liberties Union of South California, said that they are simply thrilled that the city has agreed to pass this ordinance. This was history in the making.
Early reports suggested that this new ordinance will affect 5,300 to 13,500 employees. The exact number of the people who get to enjoy this pay increase will be made clear in the near future. Dawson said that this wage increase was needed and will help the economy as well. This is a decision that she hopes extends way beyond that of Los Angeles.
The director of UCLA Labor Center, Victor Narrra, said that they also lobbied for this new increase in pay. This was a very necessary increase to help address poverty in the area. A report released last year showed that nearly 27 percent of the people living in Los Angeles live in poverty. This is a number that is higher than that of Chicago or New York.
Although the pay increase is nice, some think it’s too high. For example, these hotel workers now make over $5 more an hour than federal employees on minimum wage. In fact, President Barack Obama just recently lobbied to have the wages of federal employees raised from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. It looks like if a person lives in Los Angeles, the best job to have right now is a hotel employee.