Since my last post on February 19, 2015 on the pending request for injunction filed by two Hotel Associations to stop implementation of the Los Angeles Citywide Minimum Wage Ordinance on July 1, 2015, there has been a lot of activity in the litigation.
First, Unite/HERE Local 11 (“Local 11”) filed a motion to intervene and submitted a brief in opposition to the injunction. Local 11 argues that it has a “significant protectable interest” in the litigation, and that those interests are not adequately protected by existing parties (the Hotel Associations or the City). Local 11 further argues that the Hotel Associations’ arguments that the Ordinance is pre-empted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) lack merit, and that basing a pre-emption argument on lobbying history or allegations about the subjective motives of City Council members (alleged to be pro-union) is inappropriate.
Second, the City also filed an opposition to the Hotel Associations’ motion. The City argues that the Hotel Associations’ pre-emption claim “has no chance of success” and that its contention that Local 11 had a “covert role” in the legislative process is “irrelevant,” “unsupported and false.” The City also argues that the fact that unionized employers can waive rights imposed by the Ordinance (and negotiate alternate or lower wage rates) is immaterial to pre-emption, and consistent with the NLRA. The tone of the City’s opposition is conveyed in the following quote:
Plaintiffs are clearly frustrated that their own lobbying efforts failed to prevent the enactment of the Ordinance. Such a situation, however, does not render the Ordinance pre-empted by the NLRA; it is simply the outcome of the legislative/political process and not subject to judicial interference or fact-finding.”
The City essentially argues that if the hotels have an issue with the Ordinance, they should address it with the legislature and not the courts.
Third, the timing for the hearing has been modified so that the Hotel Associations’ reply brief is now due on March 23rd with the hearing on the Preliminary Injunction now set for April 6, 2015.
The ruling on the injunction could have broad impact on pending efforts to raise the minimum wage city-wide for all businesses and not just hotels. Stay tuned for the outcome.