A week after Long Beach voters overwhelmingly passed Measure WW, a ballot measure creating workload restrictions and safety provisions for hotel workers, on November 6, the Long Beach City Council passed its own ordinance expanding upon the measure.
Measure WW applies to Long Beach hotels with 50 or more rooms. It restricts the amount of square footage a hotel room cleaner is required to clean in a shift and creates corresponding overtime requirements. It also requires hotels to provide workers with panic buttons. Provisions are included to protect employees from retaliation by employers in the event that a worker asserts his or her rights under the measure. However, workload and overtime requirements may be waived by a collective bargaining agreement.
According to the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder, just over 63% of Long Beach voters approved Measure WW.
On November 13, the Long Beach City Council passed an ordinance requiring hotels and motels of all sizes to provide panic buttons to their workers. Introduced prior to the election, the ordinance had previously drawn the ire of four councilmembers who supported Measure WW – Lena Gonzalez, Jeannine Pearce, Roberto Uranga, and Rex Richardson – who argued that it either should have been introduced much sooner, or it should have been addressed following the election. Those four councilmembers walked out during the first two votes on the ordinance on September 4 and October 23. (To approve a new city ordinance, the council must vote on it twice after the city attorney presents to the city council.)
This time, there was no walk out. The ordinance, which simply extends Measure WW’s panic button provisions to all hotels, passed unanimously.
An amendment to the newly approved ordinance is being proposed at tonight’s (November 20) city council meeting. The amendment would “extend the compliance obligations upon all contractors and subcontractors performing work in the hotel,” add a clause to prevent employer retaliation, and require hotel employers to provide workers with written notification of their rights under the ordinance. Co-authors of this amendment include Pearce, Gonzalez and Uranga, as well as 3rd District Councilmember Suzie Price.