Eleven workers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) area hotels finished a weeklong, water-only fast Tuesday, December 12th, that was part of an effort to help secure the recently approved City of Los Angeles living wage law for the hotels.

The hotel workers began the fast Wednesday, December 6th, after LAX-area hotels and other business groups launched an effort to repeal the living wage law through a ballot referendum.

The living wage ordinance was passed by the Los Angeles City Council November 22nd, and signed into law by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa November 27th.

The law will provide the 3,500 Century Boulevard hotel workers with a wage of $10.64 per hour without health benefits or $9.39 per hour with benefits.

Villaraigosa led the closing ceremonies of the fast Tuesday, December 12th, along with faith leaders and hundreds of workers and community leaders from throughout the city.

Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern had offered their support for the living wage law at a press conference announcing the weeklong fast.

Hotel Association of Los Angeles officials and other business groups said they plan to gather nearly 50,000 signatures by Friday, December 29th, to qualify for a voter referendum.

If enough signatures are received, the living wage law will not go into effect until after the next citywide election in March.

Twenty-two members of the California Congressional delegation, who have offered their strong support for the new living wage law, have urged the hotels and business leaders to drop the effort to pursue a referendum.

“Rather than pursue a costly ballot initiative to decide this issue, we urge local business leaders to work with their employees, either through collective bargaining or by paying the new living wage,” the Congressional members wrote in a letter addressed to Villaraigosa December 7th. “We should set an example that Los Angeles is a city that stands for workers’ rights and fair wages for all.”

The 22 state Congressional representatives said the living wage ordinance is a “responsible solution that will greatly improve the quality of life of the Century Corridor hotel workers.”