Two industry groups sued Los Angeles on Tuesday over its planned minimum wage at larger hotels, saying it would cause "irreparable harm" and run afoul of federal labor law.
The American Hotel and Lodging Assn. and the Asian American Hotel Owners Assn. said the city's law, which imposes a $15.37 minimum wage, improperly interferes with labor relations, tipping the scales in favor of unions. The law has national implications for the hospital industry, which wants to keep other cities from adopting similar rules.
"If L.A. does this, other large cities will see it as something sensible for them to do," attorney Michael Starr said.
The wage law allows unionized hotels to be exempted from paying the minimum wage if workers agree in their contract to relinquish that opportunity. That provision, Starr said, will pressure hotel managers to give in to demands from labor leaders on the process used to let workers join a union.
The groups want to block enforcement of the law, approved by the City Council in September. The measure is set to go into effect in July for hotels with at least 300 rooms and expand a year later to hotels with at least 150 rooms.
Backers of the measure said it would prevent hotel workers from having to take second jobs that keep them from seeing their families. They also argue that the hotels in Los Angeles have benefited from city efforts to boost the tourism industry.
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