Los Angeles City Council tentatively approves $15.37 wage for hotel workers

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The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday tentatively approved a $15.37 per hour minimum wage for workers at big hotels.

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday tentatively approved a $15.37 per hour minimum wage for workers at big hotels.

The council voted 12-3 to approve the wage hike, but the issue will go back for a final vote on Oct. 1 because the decision was not unanimous.

If approved, hotels with 300 or more rooms would need to start paying $15.37 an hour by July 2015. Smaller hotels would have to comply by July 2016. Mayor Eric Garcetti has already said he will sign off on the wage hike if it passes.

Opponents say hotels can't afford to increase wages and it will cost jobs.

"These ordinances resulted in a pay increase and a loss of jobs. That's what our city can expect if this ordinance is passed," said Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Supporters said the wage hike would improve the quality of life for low-paid hotel workers.

"If you're like me, I'm in a union hotel, we have higher standards, better money, health benefits. But if you're in some of these non-union hotels, they work $9 an hour. They'll do 20-plus rooms. They go home completely dead to their families and they don't spend any time with them," said hotel worker Jose Moreira-Ramirez.

The wage hike would affect an estimated 13,000 hotel workers. Unionized hotels in many cases would be exempt from the wage hike, due to workers already agreeing to a bargained contract.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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