LA Hotel Worker $15 Hourly Wage Upheld

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld the Los Angeles $15 per hour minimum wage law for hotel workers at large hotels.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims by the American Hotel and Lodging Assoc. that the 2014 city ordinance was preempted by federal law.

Two industry groups appealed after they failed to win a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the minimum wage law on July 1, 2015.  The law included an opt-out for hotels covered by collective bargaining.

“By providing a basic minimum wage and time-off compensation, the wage ordinance alters the backdrop of negotiations, not the mechanics of collective bargaining,” wrote Judge Harry Pregerson for the panel.

Under terms of the law, hotels in Los Angeles with 300 or more rooms, the wage went into effect July 1, 2015.  For hotels with 150 or more rooms the law takes effect July 1, 2016.  For the rest, the wage change is expected to have a ripple effect.

“The city ordinance substantially distorts labor-management relations,” Michael Starr, attorney for the American Hotel and Lodging Assoc. and the Asian Hotel Owners Association, argued to the panel back in February.

“Minimum labor standards do technically interfere with labor-management relations and may impact labor or management unequally, much in the same way that California’s at-will employment may favor employers over employees,” wrote Pregerson.  “Nevertheless, these standards are not preempted, because they do not ‘regulate the mechanics of labor dispute resolution,’” he said.

Case: American Hotel & Lodging Assoc. v. City of Los Angeles, No. 15-55909


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