CHLA Sues City of Long Beach to Protect Standards

State Agency Governs Workplace Safety, Not Measure WW

SACRAMENTO, CA. – The California Hotel & Lodging Association sued the City of Long Beach today, seeking a permanent injunction of Measure WW because it violates the authority of the state’s regulatory agency to adopt workplace safety standards.

The complaint, filed in State Superior Court/County of Los Angeles, outlines Measure WW’s clear conflict with the authority of the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) as the only state agency authorized to make occupational safety and health standards. The complaint also seeks a permanent injunction of Measure WW as it deprives hotels of due process of their property and contractual rights.

“Measure WW was problematic from its conception—undermining Cal/OSHA’s authority without any guidance for implementation,” said Lynn S. Mohrfeld, President and CEO of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. “We’ve taken this legal step to ensure due process for our hotels and to stop these willy-nilly rules that only apply to some hotels.”

“Safety is paramount for our industry. We’ve always recognized that employee well-being is vital to our success,” said Heather Rozman, Executive Director of the Long Beach Hospitality Alliance. “Measure WW, however, lacks clear regulatory oversight and makes it impossible for hotels to comply with Cal/OSHA’s consistent standards.”
Measure WW was passed by Long Beach voters on Nov. 6, imposing excessive hotel work rules on hotels with 50 or more rooms unless they have a collective bargaining agreement with a union. A City-sponsored economic impact report concluded Measure WW would cost Long Beach more than $8 million in lost revenue.

Long Beach hotels have an outstanding safety record, the result of significant investment and training to protect employees and guests. The numbers bear this out, with the Long Beach Police Department reporting a total of two employee assaults occurred in 2017, during a time when more than six million visitors came to enjoy Long Beach.

Additionally, the vast majority of hotels already are providing personal safety devices to their employees, all hotels in California train their housekeepers annually and review their safety procedures every time there is any safety incident. We also provide sexual harassment prevention training and policies, human trafficking awareness training, and Long Beach hosted a hospitality safety and security conference last year to keep safety top-of-mind for our employees.