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Proposed Pay Hike For Hotel Workers Would Nearly Double Minimum Wage

LOS ANGELES ( — Three members of the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday introduced a motion that would raise the minimum wage for employees at large hotels to a living wage of $15.37 an hour.

City Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Curren D. Price Jr. and Mike Bonin co-sponsored the initiative, which would nearly double the current state minimum wage of $8 per hour and would be one of the highest minimums for private employers in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.

KNX1070's Pete Demetriou reports the law could affect about 11,000 workers at 87 hotels citywide that have 100 rooms or more.

Proposed Pay Hike For Hotel Workers Would Nearly Double Minimum Wage

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

Bonin and other supporters of the initiative point to the impact from a living wage ordinance that 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 that 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.

A recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute found increasing wages for hotel workers could spur as much as $70 million in consumer spending in Los Angeles. Another study from the Economic Roundtable released by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor found wage hikes could help stimulate the local economy and create more than 64,000 jobs.

But opponents fear the motion could hurt hotels' profitability, drive away future development of big hotel complexes in L.A., and spark a fierce battle between local business and labor groups.

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