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City Council Committee Recommends $15.37 Minimum Wage For Non-Unionized Hotel Workers

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —  A proposal to nearly double the minimum wage for non-unionized hotel workers in Los Angeles won support Tuesday from a City Council committee.

Members of the council’s Economic Development Committee are suggesting an increase from the state’s minimum wage of $8 to $15.37 be implemented for workers at hotels with at least 300 rooms by July 1, 2015 and for workers at hotels with 125 or more rooms by July 1, 2016.

The City Attorney’s Office is expected to draft an ordinance at the request of the committee for the consideration of all City Council members.

The Economic Development Committee has asked that businesses “facing a financial hardship” will be permitted to seek relief from the ordinance.

City council members Nury Martinez, Curren D. Price Jr. and Mike Bonin co-sponsored the initiative, first introduced to the City Council in February.

Bonin and other supporters of the initiative pointed at the time to the impact from a living wage ordinance the City Council passed in 2007 for workers employed in hotels near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and in 2009 for airport employees — two pieces of legislation they credit for a near 5 percent jump in passenger traffic at the airport.

“The city did this along the hotels along Century Boulevard a few years ago, and economic activity there continues to thrive,” Bonin told KNX1070 NEWSRADIO.

According to the Economic Development Department, 43 percent of local hotel employees earn wages that put them far below the federal poverty line.

California’s minimum wage will rise to $9 an hour in July and increases to $10 by 2016, although the state Senate last month approved a bill that would raise the minimum to adjust with inflation.

The bill, drafted by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, calls for minimum wage to raise to $11 an hour in 2015, to $12 an hour in 2016 and to $13 an hour in 2017, after which time automatic adjustments would go into effect.

The bill was sent to the Assembly for approval after a 21-12 vote.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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