𝙾𝙿𝙸𝙽𝙸𝙾𝙽 There is more work to do on the worker ordinance

Sometimes my urges to paint a picture outweigh the message. And I failed in “Critical State of Business Part 3,” link, to put the solutions over the context.

If we approved new crosswalks and people were getting killed at the intersection, we would re-group. On so many issues, from Block by Block and public safety to short-term rentals, we implement a program and six months down the line look at how it is working. The hotel worker ordinance that was rolled out citywide deserves the same equitable respect. Our businesses are hurting and there are things we can do to make the ordinance work better.

1st. Whatever you think or agree with or don’t agree with, the minimum wage will again rise in just a few months, perhaps another .60 to .80 cents per hour, and more ripple effects. Businesses are hurting; it’s obvious. The first responsible thing the city council can do is to let businesses digest the economics of today and discuss increases in the minimum wage in 2025. Or we can add gasoline to the fire and just destroy the rest of our small businesses.

2nd. The paid time off for part-time employees from the 1st day of work is ridiculous. In the corporate world, an employee might get a week of vacation paid after one year, or two weeks after two years. But if you have a part-time employee for a month, the employer is required to also pay out vacation time. It’s a lot of paperwork for the employer, and let’s face it, West Hollywood has many gig workers who work at more than one restaurant or bar. One employee who is bouncing from place to place causes an excessive amount of work and expense for an item that does not exist in the rest of the world. Paid vacation for part-time employees who work 10 hours a week. It’s ridiculous. This is why we have angry business owners operating in a twilight zone of business. My payroll company told me, “never seen anything like this,” and we are hearing this all over.

3rd) West Hollywood business owners universally accept $19.08 as the minimum wage. This wage is not to be changed or argued; it’s not going away. The few businesses, about a dozen, have applied for and received a waiver from the wage. The discussion on the worker ordinance does not include lowering the highest in the nation minimum wage of $19.08 per hour. Politicians can claim victory. Business owners are digesting this increase.

Shouldn’t our city council be working to change the state rules instead of putting West Hollywood business owners at a disadvantage?

4) Can we talk about our city, our needs, and our hospitality industry? Hospitality is West Hollywood’s largest industry. But the new rules have hurt the workers, and the customers hit with surcharges, and the businesses themselves. In a restaurant the business has to pay the credit card fees on all the taxes on those tips too. Restaurants are reporting a 20% reduction in their staffs. It’s not working for workers.

West Hollywood carved out a ‘living wage ordinance’ for city contractors, and then a ‘hotel worker ordinance’ for hotel workers, but has yet to be creative enough to discuss a ‘hospitality wage ordinance’ for our city’s largest industry. A restaurant in West Hollywood is forced to absorb $5 or more per hour for their servers than Beverly Hills.

Is there a grand compromise that can eliminate surcharges from our restaurant tabs, and allows for a hospitality credit? We need to do something to help level the playing field. Let’s compromise. Why doesn’t the city council want to do a study on the effects of this ordinance on our local businesses and workers?

The $19.08 minimum wage. It’s not a problem. They call it the minimum wage ordinance and that throws everybody off balance. It’s the other issues that are paramount to the success of the ordinance.

I believe, West Hollywood has the unique ability to handle and absorb the $19.08 highest in the nation minimum wage. We have led the way. But we must address the hurdles that still stand in our way.

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About Larry Block
Larry Block is a contributor and shareholder in Boystown Media. He is a local business owner, community advocate and has lived or worked in West Hollywood since 1985. Larry has served as Chairman of the Public Facilities Commission and Chairman of the Disability Advisory Board.

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Josh
Josh
11 days ago

I agree Larry. It doesnt make sense for WeHo to have a higher minium wage than the city of Los Angeles. Weho businesses cant compete otherwise.

$30./hour UNITE HERE
$30./hour UNITE HERE
12 days ago

Last night at Public Comment, several of the hotel worker members of UNITE HERE were busy advocating for $30./hour. None of these folks were fluent in English and their translator was not much better.. They appear to want $30./hr so they can live in West Hollywood. Is that correct?

Kevin
Kevin
17 days ago

Larry, your points are very salient and even could be billed as common sense. There are of course people on the other side that say if a hotel like the Sunset Tower gets a grand a night for a room, they can pay their workers more. Those people won the election battle. You should use your platform to identify and support candidates who support yours (and the weho business community) positions and work to get them elected. Then the council can legislate common sense change.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
18 days ago

I cringe every time I hear the minimum wage referred to as a living wage. Until fairly recently no one expected to live independently on the minimum wage, but instead it’s where you began while living with parents or roommates, or as a supplement to a main source of income. To actually be able to live independently on a minimum wage is enabling that worker to stay right where he is and to not be incentivized to move on from that low-skilled job by increasing his skills and marketability. It is doing that worker disservice.

Joshua88
Joshua88
18 days ago

Nobody seems to be paying attention to Mr Block, who has accepted that WeHo is not going to reduce the minimum wage.

Somehow, I am not surprised in the least.
Too self absorbed, perhaps.

Joshua88
Joshua88
19 days ago

News you might be interested in:

“…The deal between labor and fast-food companies will result in an increase in the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 an hour in April…”

Signed by Governor Newsom

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
19 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

I think MacDonnells and Chix Fillet can absorb the increase but more likely the consumer will find higher prices. Does a place like Irv’s Burger’s qualify under this new legislation?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
19 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

No, it only applies to businesses with over 60 locations nationwide.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
19 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

The referenced deal was not signed by Governor Newsom. The deal was reached in part to avoid a ballot-initiative challenge to a law signed by Governor Newsom that created a council with the authority to set wages. There are additional issues more complex than presented in this simple statement. Facts matter.

Joshua88
Joshua88
19 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

The saga over Assembly Bill 257, also known as the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, started last year when the SEIU muscled the proposal through the state Legislature with the help of its Democratic allies. Restaurant owners opposed the legislation, arguing they couldn’t bear the increased costs without raising prices for their customers.

Newsom’s signature on the bill opened a political chess match in Sacramento that has quietly played out all year, involving maneuvers in the state budget, several pieces of legislation and a new law changing how Californians vote on ballot referendums.

Joshua88
Joshua88
15 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Still waiting for your response, Mr Strasburg.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
11 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Response to what? The “deal” was not signed by the Governor. The “deal” was made between fast food company and workers. I read it as written, and my comment stands as accurate.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
19 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Lol I posted this with a link to AP and my comment wasn’t approved.

People post snapchat links, but AP isn’t allowed here…

Larrabee 1
Larrabee 1
19 days ago

Need to reduce the minimum wage asap.

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
19 days ago

what a mess!

Enough!
Enough!
19 days ago

I disagree that the city can absorb the highest wage in the country and be successful. This is forcing an increase in prices across-the-board. I used to dine out in West Hollywood 3 to 4 times a week but now I hardly ever dine out in West Hollywood. It’s actually less expensive to dine in Beverly Hills or in the city of Los Angeles. I also don’t go out and drink as much instead I invite friends over because it’s just too expensive to go out. So yes, the city businesses can absorb the highest wage in the country but… Read more »

voter
voter
19 days ago
Reply to  Enough!

I agree with you Enough! The prices at once-affordable West Hollywood restaurants have gone up at a steady pace, and at this point, most are just not worth it.

david
david
19 days ago
Reply to  Enough!

Well stated! The consumer has been hit with higher prices than before and I have had to cut back at the restaurants and stores I have frequented in West Hollywood. Bottom line that this increase isn’t working and is only hindering all of us. I have spoken to many employees at the places I frequent and all of their hours have been cut and patronage has diminished. Hence they are making less than before. Also, even at the minimum wage increase none of these workers say they can or do live in the unaffordable market of West Hollywood. Sad times… Read more »

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