The Los Angeles City Council gave initial approval Wednesday to a package of ordinances requiring hotels along the Century Corridor near Los Angeles International Airport to pay their workers a living wage.
The 11-3 vote came despite vocal opposition from business groups and executives from the 12 targeted hotels, who said the Council has no justification for requiring private companies that do not receive money or subsidies from the city to pay a living wage. They said the move sends a message that the city is unfriendly to business. The Council also brushed aside efforts from hotel executives to exempt tipped workers from the proposed wage.
The Council further voted 13-1 to require hotel management to retain workers for 90 days after a hotel is sold, a provision virtually identical to the grocery worker retention ordinance the Council passed late last year that is now being challenged in court.
Finally, the Council voted 13-1 to require that service charges for banquets and other functions that are collected by the hotels be passed on directly to the employees working those events.
All three ordinances will come back for a final vote on Nov. 22. Given the margins in Wednesday's votes, this is regarded as a mere formality and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to sign the ordinance into law.
Passage of these ordinances marks a significant victory for living wage advocates and local unions, which have mounted a campaign to organize the Century Boulevard hotels. However, hotel owners and business groups will likely challenge the law, either through voter referendum or in court.
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