Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)-area hotel workers have lost approximately $4.6 million in unpaid “living wages” as a result of legal actions that have delayed implementation of the city’s living wage ordinance, a new study released by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy claims.
The Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance in February last year that would require the airport-area hotels to pay their service workers $10.64 an hour without health benefits or $9.39 an hour with benefits. But the law has not gone into effect due to a lawsuit filed by LAX-area hotels.
The California Court of Appeals has upheld the law but the hotels have continued their opposition, filing a petition with the state Supreme Court. The court has not yet ruled whether it will hear the case.
According to the new study, individual hotel workers lost between $350 and $4,044 a year on average, depending on job classification. Revenues for hotels on the Century Boulevard Corridor have increased an estimated $30.1 million, approximately six times the additional cost of complying with the ordinance, the study said.
“The $4.6 million in lost living wages could have made a significant impact in these hotel workers’ lives,” said City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who introduced the ordinance last year. “The hotels should stop fighting this ordinance with lawsuits and referendums and start paying their workers a living wage.”
But Ruben Gonzalez, spokesman for the airport-area hotels, rejected the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy study, calling it a “misrepresentation” of the facts. The study does not provide any independent verification, Gonzalez said.
“They give no verification of their method or model and there’s no independent review or independent voice whatsoever,” Gonzalez said of the study.
For the past year and a half, a coalition of community, civic and faith leaders has engaged in an effort to address conditions for LAX hotel workers and nearby communities. The Coalition for a New Century, which includes religious, education and civic leaders, is seeking higher job standards for thousands of hotel workers on Century Boulevard, city investment in the long-neglected LAX tourism industry and a central role for adjacent communities, according to the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.