The W Hotel in Hollywood. Photo by John Schreiber.
The W Hotel in Hollywood. Photo by John Schreiber.

A pair of hotel industry groups announced Tuesday they have gone to court in hopes of stopping Los Angeles from requiring hotel owners to pay their workers at least $15.37 per hour starting in July.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association filed a lawsuit challenging the minimum wage increase, and a hearing will be held March 26 on a request for an injunction that would prevent the increased wage from taking effect.

The requested injunction would suspend the so-called Hotel Wage Act “until a decision is reached on whether the act improperly interferes with federal law,” American Hotel & Lodging Association President Katherine Lugar said.

The Los Angeles City Council in October approved an ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15.37 an hour for workers at hotels in the city with 300 or more rooms, starting July 1. Hotels with at least 150 rooms will have to comply by July 1, 2016.

Unionized hotels in many cases are exempt from the wage hike, since workers are already covered by a negotiated contract.

The hotel industry groups’ lawsuit contends the exception for unionized hotels unfairly gives labor unions leverage during bargaining. They also contend the wage hike should be invalidated because a local entity should not be able to change the federally governed relationship between labor and management.

City officials said last month they are “confident that the ordinance is lawful and valid.”

City News Service

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