The Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community began collecting signatures on February 17 to place a hotel workers protection ordinance on the November ballot, according to coalition Director Victor Sánchez.


“The good thing is it has been a two-year campaign, so the message is out there in the community and it’s not an issue that’s out of the know for a lot of residents and a lot of our volunteers,” Sánchez said. “We’re excited. We feel like we’ve got good momentum and we have a positive outlook for the coming weeks.”


If passed, the proposed Hotel Workplace Requirements and Restrictions ordinance would impose safety and workload-related standards on hotels with 50 or more rooms. Sánchez explained that the coalition does not have a total on the number of signatures collected so far, but that volunteers, not paid collectors, are out six days per week gathering them.


“When you look at the current national context and the need for women to have adequate protection in the workplace from sexual and physical abuse, I don’t know why this is even an issue that’s up for debate. It’s long overdue,” Sánchez said. “For us, we see it as part of the longer conversation about the need to make sure that women in the workplace are protected and have avenues to address any instances of sexual or physical abuse.”


When informed about Sanchez’s comments, Business Journal Publisher George Economides said the reason it’s “up for debate is that this push is not about protecting women, it’s about unionizing hotels and their employees. Let’s face it, if these hotels were a dangerous place to work and employees were being abused, the hotels would be out of business.”


Rent Control Initiative

Housing Long Beach (HLB) and its affiliates also continue gathering signatures for a rent control initiative to appear on the November ballot. Josh Butler, director of HLB, said signature collectors have reported a higher level of enthusiasm for this issue than they have seen in the past. Butler did not have a total number for signatures collected but said the grassroots, volunteer-based effort is covering grocery stores and apartment buildings for signature collecting. If passed, the housing initiative would establish rent control on all commercial rental properties, which excludes rentable single-family homes, and provide other renter protections such as just-cause eviction.


Each initiative requires 27,000 signatures to be submitted to the city by June for certification.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.