Two hotel trade groups have filed a lawsuit to challenge the Citywide Hotel Worker Minimum Wage Ordinance (Ordinance), passed by the City Council in October, and slated to raise the minimum wage for certain Los Angeles hotels to $15.37 per hour in July 2015. I have written about this Ordinance and all of its requirements.
The main argument in the complaint is that the Ordinance violates federal labor law in a host of different ways. It states: “Under the guise of an ordinance purporting to require that a “fair wage” be paid to hotel workers, the City has constructed, whether by design or consequence, an insidious mechanism that improperly aids the Hotel Worker’s Union … in its efforts to organize employees at all of the City’s hotels that have until now resisted unionization.” The complaint goes on to allege that the Ordinance is pre-empted by federal labor law because it “disrupts the balance struck by Congress between labor and management” and should therefore be rendered void and unenforceable.
The complaint thoroughly reviews the many aspects of the Ordinance, which is about much more than just wages as it regulates service charges, paid time off, and unpaid time off. The possible implications of this broad sweeping Ordinance on Los Angeles area hotels (whether union or nonunion) are addressed in depth, and the alleged impacts are far-and-wide.
Whether the requested relief will be granted and the Ordinance voided, or whether ongoing legal challenges will incentivize the City Council to revisit and perhaps revise the Ordinance, remains to be seen. What is certain is that these trade groups do not intend to allow the Ordinance to go into effect without a fight. Stay tuned.