The Los Angeles City Council has tentatively approved a $15.37-per-hour minimum wage for workers at large hotels in Los Angeles.
The council voted 12-3 on Wednesday, Sept. 24, to approve the minimum wage, with council members Bernard Parks, Mitchell Englander and Paul Krekorian dissenting. Because the decision was not unanimous, the issue will come back for a final vote Oct. 1.
If approved, hotels with 300 or more rooms would need to start paying the $15.37 minimum wage by July 1 and those with at least 150 rooms would have to comply by July 1, 2016.
Unionized hotels in many cases would be exempt from the wage hike, due to workers already agreeing to a bargained contract.
Hotels facing a financial hardship would be able to apply for a waiver from paying the $15.37 wage.
The wage hike would affect an estimated 13,000 hotel workers, according to one economist hired by the city, although that figure assumed the ordinance would affect hotels with 125 or more rooms.
The council also approved an amendment offered earlier by Councilmember Jose Huizar, instructing city officials to study possibly exempting older, sometimes historic, buildings that are developed into hotels. The Ace and The Standard hotels in downtown Los Angeles are examples of hotels that were opened within such buildings, according to Huizar.
The tentative decision to raise the hotel wage was greeted by thunderous applause from a room of supporters, many of them members of local labor groups who contend the wage hike would improve the quality of life for low-paid hotel workers struggling to make ends meet.
Opponents of the higher hotel wage warned that it would lead to job losses or hotels cutting back on services, while also discouraging much needed new hotel development in the city.
Opponents of the hotel wage, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association of Los Angeles, also complained the issue was rushed to a vote just one day after economics studies were released.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he would support the increased hotel wage if it is approved by the City Council. The hike is higher than his own proposed $13.25 minimum wage for all businesses in the city.