Living wage measure for Long Beach hotel workers placed on Nov. ballot

SOCAL HOTELS

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Hotel workers, including Julia Brito, left, a housekeeper at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, and their supporters celebrate at a rally in downtown Los Angeles in 2005.

Hospitality workers and their supporters submitted 30,000 signatures Friday to place a “living wage” measure on the Long Beach city ballot in November.

The initiative would guarantee workers at big hotels a minimum of $13 an hour.

Organizer Christine Petit says many employees at hotels with more than a hundred rooms have a hard time getting by.

“We see that a number of hotel workers, even if they're working full time, still have to rely on public assistance of some form," she said. "So you work full time, you’re compensated in a way that allows you to take care of your families."

Petit says it’s only fair that big hotels boost those employees’ pay because the hospitality industry rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. She argues that taxpayers are the ones that pay when the living wage is too low — whether through subsidies from the city or when workers can't afford health insurance and need public assistance.

If voters approve the living wage measure, it would also guarantee hotel workers in Long Beach five paid sick days a year.

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