approved living wage law

Hotel workers in the Century Boulevard Corridor plan to fast in support of the recently approved City of Los Angeles living wage law for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) area hotels.

The announcement came as LAX-area hotels and other business groups launched an effort to repeal the law with a ballot referendum.

Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andy Stern joined the workers at a press conference Thursday, November 30th, announcing the seven-day water-only fast.

Los Angeles County Federation of Labor executive secretary treasurer Maria Elena Durazo and Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy executive director Madeline Janis, along with faith and community leaders, also attended the event.

The workers’ fast was scheduled to begin Wednesday, December 6th.

“It is wrong that millions of Americans work full-time and still live in poverty,” Edwards said. “Every American who works hard should have the chance to achieve the American dream.

“These hotel workers and all working Americans deserve a fair wage.”

The workers will stay 24 hours a day for the duration of the seven-day fast in front of the Westin LAX hotel.

Major actions are planned along Century Boulevard every day of the fast by hundreds of workers, community and faith leaders, elected officials, students and supporters from all over Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy officials.

Workers said they hope that their fast will educate the public about the need for a living wage and draw attention to poverty wages in the hotel industry and the impact on families and communities.

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 an hour for those without health benefits or $9.39 an hour for those with benefits.

Janis of the Alliance for a New Economy said the living wage battle is a human rights issue and a justice issue.

“We hope this fast encourages more people to involve themselves in the struggles of low-wage workers that highlight the tremendous disparity between the wealthy and those stuck in poverty,” Janis said.

In addition to building public support for the living wage law, the seven-day fast will also honor the memory of the late Margarita Uriostegui, a Radisson LAX housekeeper and a strong supporter of the living wage.