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Los Angeles approves $15.37 minimum wage for hotel workers

Hotel worker Blanca Aldana, center, cheers after Los Angeles City Council voted to increase minimum wage. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to raise the minimum wage for hotel workers to $15.37, one of the highest wage requirements in the country.

Hotel workers in yellow shirts packed City Hall as the council voted 12 to 3 to approve the measure, which will go into effect for hotels with at least 300 rooms beginning in July. Hotels with 150 rooms or more will have to meet the wage requirement a year later.

“Hotel workers are here because they want family-supporting wages,” said Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, during the public comment portion of the meeting. “Hotel workers are here because they know they deserve better.”

But opponents of the wage hike said it would be bad for business. James Crank, president of the Beverly Garland hotel in North Hollywood, said one set wage across such a sprawling and diverse city didn’t make sense.

“The San Fernando Valley is not Santa Monica,” Crank said. “The San Fernando Valley hotels cannot contain a rate of this magnitude.”

The minimum wage will be among the highest in the country. Mayor Eric Garcetti hopes to follow it with a city-wide hike to $11.25 by 2017.

California’s minimum wage is currently set at $9, and it’s one of 22 states with a minimum wage higher than the federal level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.