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Laid-off hotel workers call on L.A. City Council to approve ordinances to keep workers from being replaced

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez joined laid off hotel workers Tuesday to urge the council to approve ordinances aimed at keeping workers from being replaced by younger, cheaper labor. The council is set to vote on the Workers Retention and Recall proposal Wednesday. If passed, it would require hospitality employers and others to […]

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez joined laid off hotel workers Tuesday to urge the council to approve ordinances aimed at keeping workers from being replaced by younger, cheaper labor.

The council is set to vote on the Workers Retention and Recall proposal Wednesday.

If passed, it would require hospitality employers and others to offer jobs to workers who they laid off because of the pandemic, and rehire based on seniority when the economy rebounds.

It’s meant to help housekeepers, janitors, maintenance workers and others who have worked in hospitality businesses, at hotels, airports and commercial venues for years only to lose their jobs as the coronavirus crisis took hold of the local economy.

“It’s the only fair thing to do,” Martinez said, standing on the steps of city hall Tuesday morning.

Martinez acknowledged the $2.2 trillion relief package from the federal government, but said it doesn’t go far enough to protect workers.

“If we learned anything about the last financial crisis of 2008, is that more often than not, the federal relief goes to benefit big business, corporate executives, and there is no commitment for working Angelenos who are actually critical for their businesses success,” she said.

Martinez said the ordinance will expand workers’ rights and act as a commitment that “the things we love will be there when we return.”

“What good is having the fanciest amenities without janitors and housekeepers to keep those facilities clean?” she said.

Martinez was joined by leaders from large workers’ unions and employees who lost their jobs at the Mr. C Beverly Hills and the Chateau Marmont.

Michael Racanelli said he was a bellman at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood for five years before he was “unceremoniously” let go, along with several other coworkers.

“We all need to figure out how we’re gonna pay rent or how how we’re gonna have health insurance, and ultimately, what’s going to happen when this is all over,” he said.

Raquel Lezama, a former Mr. C Beverly Hills employee, also joined the lawmaker Tuesday.

She had worked for two decades to pull herself out of poverty before she laid was off in mid-March, along with some 20 other housekeepers.