The Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval this week to a proposal that would increase wages for all workers citywide to $15 per hour by 2020, with offsets for small businesses and non-profits. As the process moves forward over the coming weeks, the American Hotel & Lodging Association is working with its state and local partners to encourage the Council to use this opportunity to rescind the Hotel Workers Act, which raises the minimum wage to $15.37 at large non-union hotels. The hotel-only wage ordinance is scheduled to go into effect in July for hotels with at least 300 rooms, expanding a year later to hotels with at least 150 rooms.
On May 15, Federal District Court Judge Andre Birotte denied AH&LA’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the City of Los Angeles and its Hotel Workers Act. In his 40-page decision, Birotte based his denial on the grounds that the federal preemption claim is not likely to succeed on its merits based upon his interpretation of existing case law, according to AH&LA. The L.A. Litigation Steering Committee, which is made up of industry general counsels, as well as AH&LA’s legal team at Holland & Knight, convened earlier this week to more fully analyze the decision and discuss next steps on the injunction.
“The hotel industry offers competitive wages and benefits and provides pathways for employees to create a life-long career,” AH&LA President and CEO Katherine Lugar said in a statement. “That is why we support a wage increase that is fair, balanced and applied equally to all Los Angeles workers. We will continue to oppose plans by the City of Los Angeles to single out the hotel industry, which places hotels at a competitive disadvantage and disrupts the delicate balance of economic power between labor and management. Solutions that address wages for all of Los Angeles workers is the right way to approach this issue, and the hotel industry will pursue all remedies to ensure our industry is not indiscriminately targeted.”
AH&LA and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association sued the City of Los Angeles over the Hotel Workers Act in December 2014. In January, the two associations filed a preliminary injunction against the city as part of its complaint.