UNITE HERE! Local 11 is asking the City to take over its job of advocating for and protecting hotel workers. On the agenda for the next meeting of the City Council (8/27) is a staff report that lays out a new area of regulation for the City: setting workloads for hotel workers and supervising their training.  Isn’t that the role of the union?  Staff says the cities of Long Beach, Oakland, Emeryville and Seattle have adopted similar ordinances.  But they note “through ballot measures approved by voters.” Santa Monicans are not given the option.

Staff, without committing to a possible financial impact, says the oversight can be done by Code Compliance. Officers would have to be trained for a whole new set of regulations.   This when the City said Code Compliance was too overburdened to continue supervising leaf blowers and can’t find money to patrol e-scooter riders on its sidewalks.

There is no question that some workers are in vulnerable positions, but is it the City’s responsibility to enforce work rules?  What next, regulating the number of bathroom breaks for shoe salesmen on the Promenade?

Local 11 has a disproportionate influence on City Council because it provides money and campaign workers to incumbents.  For once, Councilmembers should put the needs of taxpayers before a special interest by refusing to consider this proposed ordinance.  If they truly think it’s in the public’s best interest, put it on the ballot.

Harriet P. Epstein Santa Monica

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