Hospitality Workers to Hold Press Conference before Filing for Living Wage Initiative • Long Beach Post

8:00am | There has been a controversy as of late regarding the pay of hospitality workers here in Long Beach — and it doesn’t seem like the battle will go anywhere. Supported largely by a group known as the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs, a group of hospitality workers will hold a press conference today at noon to discuss their push to get a “living wage” initiative on the ballot this November.

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The proposed initiative would require hotels with more than 100 rooms, the Long Beach Airport and the Long Beach Convention Center to pay workers $13 an hour.  Community members will gather the required number of signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2012 election, giving Long Beach voters the opportunity to improve living standards for Long Beach’s hospitality workers.

The workers, in an e-mail sent to the press, described their situation as thus:

Long Beach hospitality workers take care of the tourists who support our local businesses. They deserve a wage that allows them to take care of their families as well. But current wages leave many hotel and food services workers struggling. Veronica Flores, a housekeeper who worked at the Hilton Long Beach for five years, made $8 an hour. If she worked 40 hours a week, she earned $320. Annually, that’s $16,640 per year. She and her two children had to live together in one bedroom of a two-bedroom apartment.

“Companies should pay people enough to survive,” said Gary Hytrek, a Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community member and Cal State Long Beach sociology professor. “Someone who works 40 hours per week should be able to afford housing, food, health care, and other basic necessities of life, with a little leftover to enjoy life.”
The press conference will be held in front of Long Beach City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Boulevard at 12:00pm.

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