AH&LA Says One Sector Must Not Be Singled Out in Minimum Wage Debate

    Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, today issued a statement opposing a proposal before the Los Angeles City Council this Wednesday which would increase the minimum wage for only one segment of the workforce—hotel workers.

    On Sept. 1, Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti released a plan to increase the city’s minimum wage to $13.25 over a period of three years, followed by increases tied to the inflation rate. Simultaneously, the L.A. City Council Economic Development Committee is considering an increase that only targets the hotel industry, raising the minimum wage to $15.37 for hotel workers employed at non-union hotels.

    “Our employees are the backbone of the hotel industry, and we take pride in providing them fair wages, benefits, and the opportunity to learn and grow in our industry and move up toward lifelong careers,” Lugar said. “Our recently released ‘Hotel Pay Practices Report’ clearly shows that the hotel industry pays its employees above minimum wage in eight out of 10 hotel jobs. And in addition, the overwhelming majority receive substantial benefits packages with a fast-track to career growth. This is true for our employees in the Los Angeles area as well.

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    “That’s why this radical hotel-only proposal not only unfairly targets our industry, it actually harms the very people it is intended to help. Should the City Council move forward on this idea, it will severely disrupt a job-growth industry and jeopardize jobs that both pay well and provide benefits for their employees.

    “Study after reputable study shows the negative economic impacts on the city and its workers should such a proposal go into effect. Indeed, even an economic analysis mandated by the Council itself proves that the hotel-only proposal is a bad idea. The report released today by PFK Consulting USA states that, if the plan is implemented today as proposed, there will be a negative impact on job creation, future development will be at risk, and the under-supply of hotels in the area will continue. According to this same study, the unfair targeting of the industry would drive hotel development outside of city limits and jeopardize revenue the city already depends upon.

    “And, Los Angelenos are opposed to the plan too. A poll released by the California Hotel and Lodging Association says that 67 percent of voters in the city of Los Angeles oppose the plan to raise the minimum wage solely for hotel workers, including 53 percent of those that identified themselves as union members.

    “The American Hotel and Lodging Association is prepared to pursue any and all measures available to ensure that the hotel industry in Los Angeles is not discriminated against by a measure that only singles out one industry above the rest. We are confident that there is a fair and reasonable solution.

    “I am confident that when the City Council meets on Wednesday they will do the right thing for the City of Los Angeles and not exclusively target the hotel industry, which has been instrumental in generating millions of dollars in tax revenue that go toward much-needed programs benefitting everyone in the city.”