LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH &LA) and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) filed a lawsuit today against the City of Los Angeles challenging a recent Los Angeles ordinance that attempts to exercise power beyond the limits of the City's authority.
The lawsuit was filed in the federal United States District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the Los Angeles ordinance and prevent the City from enforcing its provisions on the grounds that it disrupts the relationship between labor and employers established by the United States Congress.
"AH &LA supports the Mayor's efforts to increase wages for all workers in L.A, but we cannot stand by when recent actions by the city council against hotels disrupt the laws for labor relations currently followed in all 50 states. For nearly a century, there has been consensus that a single set of rules governing labor relations is good for the long-term best interests of management, unions and workers," said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH &LA, during a press conference in Los Angeles. "Our workers are the backbone of the hotel industry. We are proud of how we treat our team members and the opportunities we provide them to grow and build careers in our industry."
The City's ordinance includes an "exemption for collective bargaining," which empowers unions to waive any part of the agreement for any hotel they cover through a collective bargaining agreement. This ability provides unions with dramatically increased leverage to extract concessions from hotel management, a violation of federal requirements for the negotiations of labor agreements.
"This law is well outside the mainstream, and the nation is watching what happens here in Los Angeles," continued Lugar. "We support fair and balanced wage increases for all workers in the City of Los Angeles, and we support one set of ground rules between industries for labor-management relations."
The suit outlines how the ordinance shifts power in favor of unions seeking to expand their influence in a manner that is inconsistent with the federally established regulation between labor and management. Because those relations cannot be changed at the local level, the ordinance should be invalidated and struck down by the courts.
"The City of Los Angeles is being pulled into taking sides between unions and hotels," said Chip Rogers, interim president of AAHOA. "The City Council doesn't have the authority to rewrite federal labor law and this ordinance effectively gives unions the ability to pick and choose when and where the provisions of this ordinance will be enforced. That's not right."
Representatives from local groups and industry leaders were also in attendance to discuss the impact the ordinance will have on businesses throughout the city. A recent survey of Los Angeles voters shows that 65% of respondents are opposed to raising the minimum wage solely for hotel workers, and are more supportive of the across-the-board minimum wage increase.
The lawsuit is American Hotel & Lodging Association and Asian American Hotel Owners Association v. City of Los Angeles. AH &LA and AAHOA are represented by the law firm Holland & Knight.
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH &LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH &LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry generating $155.5 billion in annual sales from 4.9 million guestrooms.
Founded in 1989, AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the world, with more than 13,500 small business owner-members. AAHOA members own more than 20,000 properties, amounting to more than 40 percent of all hotels in the United States, and employ nearly 600,000 workers, accounting for over $9.4 billion in payroll annually.
Source:Asian American Hotel Owners Association