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First Things, October 2014

October 9, 2014

On September 25, the LA City Council passed a living wage ordinance for workers in large hotels. The vote was 12 to 3. I’ve been working with the “Raise LA” campaign for over a year now. Raise LA was a coalition of hotel workers, labor leaders, clergy and religious folks. We worked hard. And we won.

Starting in July of 2015 hotel workers in hotels that have 300 or more rooms must be paid a minimum of $15.37 per hour. For the first time, these hotel workers will be able to support themselves and a small family by working a single full time job. The ordinance also requires at least five paid sick days per year. In July 2016, the ordinance will include hotel workers at mid-size hotels of 150 rooms or more.

The hotel industry in Los Angeles is making record profits. Most of that profit goes to corporate headquarters outside Los Angeles. The money local hotel workers take home will be spent right here in Los Angeles. Small businesses in LA will benefit when their customers have more money in their pockets. And LA will benefit from more people able to pay taxes instead of depending on social services to supplement poverty wages.

But most importantly, and the reason I got involved, is that all workers deserve respect. We show respect by paying fair wages. A poverty wage communicates the message, “you’re not worthy.” As a Unitarian Universalist I believe it’s imperative that we send the message of the worth and dignity of every person.

Now it’s time to raise the minimum wage for all Los Angeles workers. Let’s Raise LA!

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