LA Hotel Minimum-Wage Law Survives 9th Circuit


     (CN) — The Ninth Circuit refused Tuesday to block a 2014 Los Angeles minimum-wage law that, among other things, requires big hotels in the city to pay workers at least $15.37 an hour.
     Adopted in October 2014, L.A.’s fair-wage law covers hotels across the city with more than 150 guest rooms.
     A different wage law already covered certain smaller hotels near the Los Angeles International airport, and the 2014 law took its place.
     It took the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association just two months to file suit.
     After a federal judge denied them an injunction last year, they appealed to the Ninth Circuit.
     A three-judge panel in Pasadena affirmed Tuesday, rejecting claims that the ordinance interferes with labor—management relations and is thus pre-empted by federal labor law.
     “The district court did not err in finding the wage ordinance to be the kind of minimum labor standard that falls within the ambit of state power,” Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for the court. “By providing a basic minimum wage and time-off compensation, the wage ordinance alters the backdrop of negotiations, not the mechanics of collective bargaining. Its many provisions, including the opt-out for collective bargaining, are valid. As such, the wage ordinance is not preempted.”
     The 14-page unpublished opinion closes with the court’s finding that “the Hotels failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits.”
     Michael Starr, of Holland & Knight in Manhattan, argued for the hotel plaintiffs.
     Deputy City Attorney Sara Ugaz defended the law.
     Paul More, of Davis, Cowell & Bowe in San Francisco, argued on behalf of a union that intervened in the case, Unite Here Local 11.
     The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Coalition for a Democratic Workplace also filed friend-of-court briefs, represented by H. Christopher Bartolomucci, with Bancroft PLLC in Washington, D.C.

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