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Fri, Jun

Unite Here Local 11 Wants to Eliminate Hotel Jobs

LA WATCHDOG

LA WATCHDOG - The weaponized initiative that was placed on the March primary ballot by Unite Here Local 11 will result, if approved by the City’s voters, in many of its members joining the ranks of the unemployed. (See ballot measure summary below.)

This measure would establish the Hotel Housing Voucher Program where the City would issue prepaid vouchers to place homeless individuals and families in vacant hotel rooms that hotels would be required to accept.  This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Just imagine if a deranged homeless person occupying a vacant hotel room injured or killed an out-of-town guest or a unionized hotel employee.  Or if a video went viral of a homeless individual going bonkers in the lobby of a major hotel in DTLA or Hollywood.

The adverse publicity would severely impact the City’s multibillion dollar tourist industry, a key driver of our economy, and put many employees out of work, including members of Unite Here Local 11.

To get a better understanding of the impact of this ballot measure, the City Council approved a motion in December that instructed the City Administrative Officer to conduct an economic analysis of the effect on the hotel industry, the $300 million a year hotel tax, the convention business, employment levels, and the cost to the City.  The City Council also wanted to know the effectiveness of a single-night voucher program that does not provide wrap around services.

Not surprisingly, we have not been privy to any report because its adverse findings would not be welcomed by the campaign funding leaders of Unite Here Local 11 and their many ring kissing friends on the City Council.

Public opinion polls sponsored by the hotel industry found that a significant majority of the over 2,200 people polled would be “deterred” from visiting the City.  Likewise, polls indicated that Angelenos believe that placing homeless people next to full paying visitors is an expensive program that endangers guests and employees while doing little to solve the homeless issue.  

This ill-conceived ballot measure deserves a NO vote. Or just maybe, Unite Here Local 11 has the common sense to withdraw this boneheaded ballot measure that is not in the best interests of its 32,000 members. 

Note: Unite Here Local 11 and the hotel industry are engaged in an active labor dispute.  Issues include wages, healthcare benefits, pensions, workloads, and housing affordability.  The union wants the industry to endorse the ballot measure. This seems unlikely. 

 

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HOTEL LAND USE, REPLACEMENT HOUSING, AND POLICE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS; PROGRAM PLACING UNHOUSED INDIVIDUALS IN VACANT HOTEL ROOMS. INITIATIVE ORDINANCE 

Shall an ordinance requiring certain hotel development projects obtain a land use permit based on affordable housing impacts and other factors, and replace demolished or converted housing with affordable housing; adding police permit requirements for hotels; establishing a program to place unhoused individuals in vacant hotel rooms (emphasis added); and providing specified exceptions and waivers; be adopted? 

City Attorney Report provides a relatively concise summary. 

 

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Unite Here Local 11 scored a victory on June 21, 2022, when the City Council approved the Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance that garnered enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.  Despite industry opposition, this ordinance was approved within two weeks without any meaningful discussion or analysis.

WORKPLACE SECURITY, WORKLOAD, WAGE, AND RETENTION MEASURES FOR HOTEL WORKERS. INITIATIVE ORDINANCE

Shall an ordinance: requiring hotels to supply workers with personal security devices and provide other protections; requiring specified hotels to pay wage premiums and obtain worker consent for workloads exceeding certain limits; and expanding the scope of the City’s existing hotel worker retention and minimum wage ordinances to apply to more hotels; with certain waivers and exceptions; be adopted? 

City Attorney Report provides a relatively concise summary.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

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