Opinion Sunday: Why the City Council’s hotel ordinance hurts hotel workers.

By: Housekeeping Manager

Mayor Horvath pushing the Hotel Worker Ordinance in front of the out of business Standard Hotel

Publisher’s note: The Hotel Worker Ordinance introduced by Mayor Horvath and Council member Shyne is set to come before the City Council on July 19th. The hotly contested issue would exempt the hotel if they joined the Union and could have devastating effects on the hotel operations in West Hollywood. WEHOville is glad to present various vantage points of view to the public concerning this ordinance. We respect this worker’s right to privacy and provide this op-ed for educational purposes only.

I am a housekeeping manager at a hotel in West Hollywood.

I have worked in housekeeping my entire career, starting as a room attendant and working my way up to a manager. My team, made up of fantastic ladies and gentlemen, who like me, are mostly minorities, are truly like family. I know their children, their birthdays, and am so grateful that they welcome me into their lives. Please know that I write this article anonymously because I am fearful of the retaliation that I have seen at other hotels whenever anyone speaks up about Unite Here, the hotel union. They harass people who disagree with them through phone calls and text messages, and then organize gatherings at hotels to intimidate us. I don’t want that for myself or my team, so I asked to keep my name off of this article for protection.

You should know that my hotel is working so hard to hire staff so I can have more people to clean rooms as we have thankfully seen our business come back strong. In my twenty years, I have never seen it so bad to find people to work. We post the jobs, but no one applies. So, I don’t understand why the West Hollywood city council is thinking it is a good thing to pass this hotel ordinance which would make me need to find twice as many of people to clean when I already can’t find people. Their proposal would put very strict rules on the hotels where I could only schedule the team to clean half the number of rooms that they normally clean. If we cannot clean rooms, we cannot sell rooms- it is that simple. I know the city makes money on the hotel taxes- why would they want us to sell less rooms?

Another reason why this new law would be bad is because it harms the workers pay. How? Because we could no longer afford to offer overtime and they would lose tips. You should know that the overtime is an extra hour or two a day that we offer the team if they want to make extra money- we don’t make anyone work more than their scheduled times. They like the extra hours because they are paid time and half, and I know the extra money is important to their families. One of my ladies said that she was able to afford new shoes for her child to play soccer just through the overtime that she made in the last month. One other thing that will hurt us is that by cutting down the number of rooms, my team will not be able to make the same amount of tips that people leave in the rooms. I don’t think this council knows any of these things so why don’t they ask us?

When I read more information about the ordinance, it said also said that it was supposed to protect us. But, we already do all of the trainings that they list as new things. We have the panic buttons, we do sexual harassment training every year, and I do training for the proper use of chemicals and even show the right way to clean so injuries can be avoided. We also learn about human trafficking every year, and how to report anything that looks suspicious. I am proud that we have the training, and I can tell you that we make sure our team is healthy and strong. In fact, I even do stretches and other exercises with the team every morning! So, I am confused why the council says these are new protections when we already do all of the protections and more. Plus, you should know that state laws and Cal OSHA already require many of the things in the ordinance- so why do we need a city law to repeat this?

If the council really wants to help us, then they should figure out how to support us with things we need like more workers, better transportation, and finding more people to visit and spend money with us. All of my team commutes from as far as an hour away, so transportation help would be really appreciated- maybe they could pay for our bus fares? And we are concerned about the homeless issue too- we do not always feel safe walking on the streets here. I know the homeless people need more help- why isn’t the city doing more for them? One other thing I was thinking about is that by creating twice as many people to clean the same number of roomswill double the number of people driving and parking. Parking is already hard, and traffic now feels the same as before the pandemic- why does the council want to make it worse?

Please know that I do not mean to complain. I am happy to be here and work here. But, I wish that this council would stop and think about what they are doing. I know our hotels are safe and good places to work- it is my job as a manager to make sure that this is true, and I am proud that I can say my team is happy. It is not always perfect, but we always try our best. If this was not true, wouldn’t we hear more about this in the news or from the police? Wouldn’t there be more injuries and people trying to sue the hotels? I think that if this was a real problem, then you would already know about it. I hear the union talk mostly about the Standard Hotel as the reason for this, but that hotel closed- like so many businesses did in the last year. Is the council going to make laws for every business that closed like the Standard? I feel bad for all of the workers who lost their jobs, but I know every hotel is hiring, so why don’t they apply and go back to work? This really doesn’t make any sense to me- does it make sense to you?

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Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
2 months ago

Anonymous opinion pieces hide the authors agenda. Its propaganda

Larry Block
Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Thompson

Author is a Housekeeping Manager so her agenda is noted. Her safety is also protected.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

S/he can tell us their name.

Larry Block
Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  WeHoMikey

Im sorry, she is afraid to be threatened and harassed. How about you can tell us your name?

Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Larry it’s propaganda I’m my opinion.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Thompson

This is a curious piece of writing. It seems partly based on thoughts from. a “housekeeping manager” but strongly embellished by another hand.

Mayor of Realville
Mayor of Realville
2 months ago
Reply to  No, No, No

Are you implying that a woman who is a minority and has worked her entire career in housekeeping cannot write something so erudite? That shows your agenda.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago

Just making a legitimate observation of the writing If you look closely, it was very inconsistent. Perhaps you might have some type of agenda? No horse in this race.

Shawn
Shawn
2 months ago

I would really like an article explaining what the measure is attempting to do. I haven’t been able to find the information about how the ordinance will work. Is it based on sq feet or is it based on number or rooms cleaned. In this article and the other ones on this site about the issue, I’ve never actually seen it explained. Also I don’t understand why the chamber and the hotel operators are calling it a tourism cap in the mailers that I have received. Can’t the hotel operators pay more money to hire more workers. These hotels are… Read more »

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  Shawn

This is the article you seek. The council meeting is also on YouTube, from April.

https://beverlypress.com/2021/04/weho-moves-to-help-hotel-workers/

MWilson
MWilson
2 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Thank you for sharing the article, Shawn. But, it does not cover any specifics. I have heard that the draft ordinance was a literal copy and paste from the Santa Monica ordinance that was passed in the summer of 2019. I am sharing sections below from the Santa Monica ordinance to identify the notable details. Beyond these provisions, however, all of the other items included in the Santa Monica ordinance such as worker safety, sexual harassment training, recall and retention. are already existing, and either codified by state law, regulated by Cal-OSHA, or established as an industry standard. The last… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago

I don’t know where “housekeeping manager” is getting her/his/their numbers but there is a good deal of foolishness in this commentary. First it is unlikely that the proposed ordinance would cut the number of rooms to be cleaned in a day by individual housekeepers by half, there is virtually nothing stopping the the hotels from hiring additional staff. These folks are only making $16-$17 an hour. If the hotel have to hire two additional full time housekeepers the cost would be about $140.00 a day per housekeeper. So if the hotels pass the costs on to the consumer, that translates… Read more »

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

My roommate works for a luxury hotel, near the Beverly Center. He says they’re having a horrible time getting people to come back to work. There’s a lot of reasons for this. Extension of unemployment benefits, and the unemployment bonus is one of those things. Along with stimulus checks, fear of Covid, and many other reasons. Many people are waiting for the hotels to pay a living wage. This is not exclusive to hotels. I have never seen more “help wanted” signs in my life. For some of the lowest paying jobs, one might literally make more money to stay… Read more »

Observer
Observer
2 months ago

As fas as I know, there still has not been any firm date set for resuming Council meetings in the Chamber on San Vicente. If Council delays opening the Chamber until who knows when, it will be a tacit admission that they fear the public. Carefully controlled Zoom meetings are one thing, but having the public before you is an entirely different matter.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Observer

“Zoom Democracy” really leaves a lot to be desired.

Randy
Randy
2 months ago
Reply to  Observer

If I’m not mistaken, this was brought up in the last Council meeting. There is a plan to launch live meetings again. The hotel ordinance is supposed to be discussed at their next meeting, in late July.

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago

Horvath has no interest in West Hollywood or in Prop. 22. All she’s doing is laying the ground work for union support of her bid for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
As for Shyne, she’s a disappointing lap dog. I’ll never vote for her again.
I have no confidence either of them understand the specifics of the hotel measure or how it impacts the Weho economy.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  :dpb

Yup.

No, No, No
No, No, No
2 months ago

“When there is no truth, there is no confidence”. George P. Schultz, distinguished former Sec of State, Treasury, Labor and Director of OMB serving these positions under three presidents. Regardless of political party, the truth is the truth.

Weho To Ruins
Weho To Ruins
2 months ago

I live above Sunset and drive past the Andaz, the Standard, and Chateau Marmont daily and unions and picket signs have been robust and cannot be good for the entire city of West Hollywood.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Weho To Ruins

Why is having a “robust” labor movement in West Hollywood bad for the City?

Mayor of Realville
Mayor of Realville
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

*Venezuela has entered the chat*

Moded00
Moded00
2 months ago

Sorry Larry Block…I mean, Housekeeping “Manager”: management doesn’t get to speak on the workers’ behalf. This is the same nonsense logic and doublespeak that convinced gig workers to vote against their own interests in passing Proposition 22. Don’t believe a word they say. They’re trying to protect their bag, and you should too.

Larry Block
Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  Moded00

The article was submitted, the points have merit and nobody spoke on this workers behalf. On another note we also published a press release from the Union too. If any laid off worker wants to write an op-ed they are welcome to do that also.

William Seegmiller
2 months ago
Reply to  Moded00

Prop 22 and AB5 were NEVER black and white, though— while supported by some workers hoping to unionize non-typical workplaces such as strip clubs, time did in fact reveal the unintended consequences we were cautioned about for workers who benefitted from independent contractor status. On another note, I can confirm the authors point that comprehensive human trafficking and sexual harassment training/protections are already mandated BY LAW for this sector, and have been for years. The worker scheduling restrictions in the WeHo ordinance are extremely unsettling and are hardly a sound public health strategy. Let’s get serious about workers needs and… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by William Seegmiller
Randy
Randy
2 months ago

Prop 22 passed because companies like a Lyft and Uber had millions and millions of dollars to spend on the “vote yes” campaign. The opposition didn’t even have a chance. I asked several drivers, and friends that I know who have been, or are currently drivers, and they all opposed it. The companies that backed proposition 22 spent a record $200 million, lobbying for it to pass. That is a record mount of money spent on a proposition in this state. They have deep pockets. They also had the benefit of telling people to vote yes, every time they open… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Randy
Mayor of Realville
Mayor of Realville
2 months ago
Reply to  Moded00

Actually management *does.*

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago

Bravo to you for speaking up! Question is, will Horvath & Shyne listen?

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
2 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

Are you kidding, they won’t listen to anyone!

William Seegmiller
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

CM Erickson would be wise to consider the many nuances in this ordinance, and to resist the mayor’s rush to hand over a “win” to her principle would-be financiers.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
2 months ago
Reply to  JJ1

Why would they start listening now? Theirs are imperious perches from which they engage in almost monarchal governance. Democracy is not their strong suit on their path to ego and title and glory. For at least one, the term manchurian must be considered to be part of the shtick. I had hope for Shyne, but she very quickly and completely disappointed. I’m glad I pulled my vote from her. Erickson is just a pompous ass. Mme. Lindsey is the worst form of political opportunist. I miss the former Johns.

JJ1
JJ1
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

All true.

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