Los Angeles will soon require the highest minimum wage in America if three city council members have their way.
"We know it will improve lives,” Councilman Mike Bonin said. “We know it will bring folks into the middle class.”
While the motion would only raise the minimum wage for hotel workers, Bonin added that he would like to implement the change citywide.
The change will begin in hotels, if passed, because the hotel industry is largest low-wage industry in the city. If the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour, hotel workers would be able to avoid taking second jobs and relying on public assistance.
The effort, called Raise LA, has been underway for a year and led by nonprofit Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. Volunteers for the nonprofit have garnered support from more than 700 businesses.
Despite the monumental support, some hotel owners argue that the lodging business is still recovering from the recession and plan to lobby against the measure.
Executive director of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles Bob Amano argued that the raise would hurt business, force job cuts and create higher rates for customers. In effect, future development investors would be more frugal.
If the raise is enacted, it would not apply to LA hotels with union contracts, which has led Amano to believe the campaign is a ploy for hotels to sign union contracts.
“Is this about living wage or is this about gaining union membership?” Amano said.
The measure is expected to pass, as 14 of the 15 council members are Democrats and generally in favor of labor.