The local union that muscled the “Los Angeles Responsible Hotel Ordinance” onto the March 2024 ballot is crafting a new proposal for steep wage hikes in LA. It comes on the heels of a motion introduced by LA City Councilmember Curren Price that seeks to raise wages to $25 an hour for tourism workers, with plans to increase pay to $30 by 2028.
Proponents are tying this latest push for significant pay increases to California’s affordable housing crisis and LA’s role in hosting upcoming mega-events. But let’s take a closer look at what the upcoming union proposal actually entails. Buckle up. We got our hands on UNITE HERE Local 11‘s 55-page proposal document. The lengthy list of mandatory surcharges could end up hurting more Angelenos than it helps.
WHAT’S IN THE PROPOSAL
- HOMELESS REQUIREMENT: Hotels would be forced to house homeless individuals through the LA Responsible Hotel Ordinance.
- GUEST FEE HIKE: Hotels would have to impose a 7% fee on all guest room sales to support a $150 million Hospitality Workforce Housing Assistance Trust Fund.
- PAY INCREASE: For non-tipped employees, minimum wage would increase to at least $31/hour by July 2025. Tipped bussers, runners, bar backs, bartenders, bellpersons, and bell captains would earn California minimum wage plus $4/hour to $5/hour depending on their position.
- DOUBLE-PAY TIME OFF: For tipped employees, employers would be required to pay 200% of regular pay for hours not worked for holidays, PTO, sick leave, vacation, mandatory meetings, jury duty, bereavement leave, and back pay.
- MANDATORY TIPPING: By January 2026, hotels would be required to charge 24% gratuity at hotel restaurants, bars, and coffee shops on all checks.
- MEGA-EVENT PAY: For the 5 days before, the days of, and 3 days after “mega-sports” events including the World Cup, Olympics, All-Star Games, Super Bowl, World Series, and NCAA Basketball Championships, employers would be required to pay employees up to 250% of their regular pay.
UNITE HERE and SEIU members gathered several weeks ago at LA City Hall to demand higher wages. Local news outlets covered the union rally supporting Councilmember Price’s ordinance, but what about the voices of Angelenos that aren’t being heard?
What about the mom-and-pop hotels and other small enterprise owners who are being squeezed by inflation and barely making payroll as it is? What about everyday workers who won’t be able to afford entry to World Cup and Olympics events in their own city because of increased costs passed along to consumers?
For now, we’re just gathering facts and sharing intel. But we encourage you to keep these questions in mind as we continue working our sources to learn more about next steps and media amplification. Contact Sarah Wiltfong with questions.