SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, UNITE HERE Local 11 filed an initiative in Santa Monica that would require hotels to pay their workers $30 an hour. Citing the housing crisis, the union is demanding employers pay a living wage so that workers can afford to live near where they work. The proposed law would be the highest minimum wage in the country.
Workers are demanding further wage increases in large part due to rising housing prices. In a UNITE HERE Local 11 survey, 53% of workers said that they either have moved in the past 5 years or will move in the near future because of soaring housing costs. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a single mother would need to make over $40 an hour to afford a 2-bedroom apartment in the Los Angeles area, still well above the proposed minimum wage. Meanwhile, the hotel industry in Santa Monica is booming with rates above $600 a night and revenue exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
The union is also fighting for higher wages in other cities in the region. Cities like West Hollywood have raised their minimum wages and others like Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Long Beach are also pushing similar legislation.
“I have to work two jobs to be able to live in Santa Monica. Some coworkers live all the way out in Palmdale, Lancaster, San Bernardino or Riverside,” said Salvador Garcia, a Santa Monica resident and hotel worker who is serving as one of the official proponents of the initiative. “I signed onto this initiative so that more of us would have the opportunity to live nearby.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers and airports.