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US city hotels told to pay more

Labour disputes and mass petitions look set to lead to improved working conditions and pay for some hotel housekeepers in parts of the USA, with councils passing local laws providing job protection.

Among the latest is Los Angeles City Council which has approved an ordinance on safety and minimum wage requirements. This follows a series of strikes and protests in several major cities, including by housekeeping staff laid off during the pandemic, or as a result of hotel groups telling guests there would be no daily housekeeping during their stays.

In Los Angeles the ordinance goes further than that operating in other cities as it states daily cleaning of rooms and linens will be mandatory. The new law was agreed after the council received a petition with some 100,000 signatures and will come into effect subject to Mayor Eric Garcetti signing it off.

Previously only hotels with 150 or more rooms were bound by minimum wage laws, now it will apply to any with 60 rooms. The minimum wage went up to $16.04 (around £13.50) from $15 from the start of July.

The ordinance also places a limit on the total square footage an employee is expected to clean each day and requires hotels with more than 60 rooms to employ security guards and issue staff with ‘panic button’ devices.

The UNITE HERE union says it has won legislation protecting hospitality workers in 17 cities and statewide in Nevada, Connecticut, and California, as well as in hundreds of workplace agreements.

Members of the Unite Here union are demanding better pay and working conditions
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