On August 8, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors introduced a $30 per hour minimum wage that focuses only on one industry — tourism.
On August 10, the very same supervisors issued a letter to the state of California opposing a $25 per hour minimum wage for their own staff – county healthcare workers.
The hypocrisy is just getting started here.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, chair of the Board of Supervisors, is pushing legislation at lightning speed, without an economic impact analysis to evaluate how this massive increase for one group of workers changes the dynamics for workers in other fields.
It’s clear the supervisors understand how this stuff works. Their letter to the state says: “We are concerned … it would result in significant cost burdens to the county on an annual basis. The costs are estimated to be upwards of $200 million per year ongoing. These costs are so significant that these costs could have deleterious effects on the number of individuals the county could continue to employ, and possibly impact the delivery of county services.”
The board’s advocacy against legislation that impacts their ability to manage their “business” acknowledges dramatic changes can result in mass layoffs – which could even result in a potential increase in homelessness if county employees lose their jobs.
But the hypocrisy thickens.
The supervisors’ advocacy against a minimum wage for their own workers goes on to say, “This bill would also undermine the county’s collective bargaining process.”
Why are LA Supervisors intentionally introducing this tourism only law now when they are fully aware that hotels are actively engaged in the collective bargaining process?
Anyone awakened by the early-morning drums and bullhorns of Unite Here Local 11 pickets knows that hotels are sitting at the negotiating table.
Beyond the obvious “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy, why are they targeting one group of people in the tourism industry — and not looking out for their own essential healthcare workers?
What about all the other workers across LA County who face the same high cost of living in southern California?
The Board of Supervisors should advocate for all workers, and not place the value of one person’s labor over another.
If the Board of Supervisors worked for all of us rather than special-interest groups, they would:
•Explain to county workers why they are less deserving than tourism workers.
•Recognize that their “copy and paste” law-making is bad public policy.
•Complete an economic impact analysis to understand the real impact to people.
•Explain to taxpayers the devastating impact on small-business and local-government tax revenue the inequitable wage proposal will have.
We need leaders who can develop a holistic solution to our affordability crisis—one that will benefit all.
The people of LA County demand better than this.
Heather Rozman is the president and CEO of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles and Lynn S. Mohrfeld is the president and CEO of the California Hotel and Lodging Association.