THE CITY - When LA City Hall thinks it knows what's good for business, the business community usually ends up with a raw deal.
As if Councilmembers don't have enough of their own issues to grapple with—starting with the City's own budget deficit—now they want to make hiring decisions for you.
That's right, the “Hotel Worker Right of Recall” proposal from Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Janice Hahn would require all 50-room or more hotels that close for renovation or reconstruction to offer former employees their former job when the new facility opens.
First of all, the City of Los Angeles should be 100 percent in support of owners who wish to upgrade their properties. Unless hotels invest in upgrades, they soon find themselves out of business or serving a clientele that generates less money to pay employee wages and benefits—also less money for city employees. No one wins under that scenario.
Hotels that close for renovation or reconstruction are in many cases under new ownership and usually are redesigned to reach a different market segment. Whether it's a modest 2-star hotel or a luxury 5-star hotel, each establishment, along with a physical upgrade, wants to establish an upgrade in service as well.
They do that by hiring a staff that is most qualified for the new jobs. That new staff may very well be their former staff, but not always. Just as newly-elected City Councilmembers seek to hire the best people for their new staff, rather than simply hiring the staff of the previous Councilmember, a private employer must be entitled to interview and hire the staff they deem best qualified to serve their customers.
Some at City Hall will argue that Los Angeles has a proprietary interest in a so-called “Hotel Worker Right of Recall” because the travel and tourism industry depends on a stable workforce. This statement of course implies that a business or industry cannot have a stable workforce unless it hires the same people in the future as it has hired in the past.
The business community knows that in order to achieve continuous improvement in their products and services, every new hire must be able to bring added value to the organization.
We know there's a smarter path to the “stabilized workforce” mentioned in this motion. That path involves stimulating economic growth by making decisions at City Hall that encourage businesses to invest in upgrading and expanding their facilities to create new and better jobs.
But it does not include telling businesses who they should hire to grow their company and serve their customers.
(Gary Toebben is President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce) -cw
Vol 9 Issue 31
Pub: Apr 19, 2011