The Hotel Guy – The “Wage War”

by Alan Campbell, Featured Contributor

Minimum Wage Battle

IT HAS been in the news as of lately, it seems that there is a movement to have the minimum wage raised to 15.00 per hour. This applies to unskilled labor, for the most part. Minimum wage was never intended to support a family. It was an entrance for those starting out, and with the hope that as they progressed through the process Hotel Hospitalitythey would eventually earn a sustainable wage. I have to think that the small business owners are going to either lay off or close. This wage increase will create the following criteria: Let’s assume that I hire a worker at this new rate, I will require prior experience and I may even require a degree. Why not for that kind of money I expect better quality. There are a few places that have passed city ordinances requiring that the wage be established at 15.00 per hour. (Sea Tac) Seattle, and It is my understanding that certain sections in California are requiring that hotels with 200 rooms or more pay their wage earners likewise. The LA airport corridor has an ordinance that establishes this rate and has been in effect for some time, however other areas are still paying less that the LA airport corridor. There is a vote coming up to approve an increase, but it seems to apply to the hospitality industry only. Other industries are exempt. Be prepared for a battle on this one.

 A side the increase in wages, it also means insurance (Obama care) that is mandatory under the law. This adds more money that has to be outlaid by the owners, the only way to offset this is increase prices, and or decrease output, and personnel.  I have to ask. What does 15.00 dollar an hour employee get me? The unions are all for it, for it put more money in their coffers. There will be a stampede of questionable workers trying for those jobs, there are a lot of questions and few answers to this problem that could very well snowball from state to state. How will it affect unemployment insurance? How will affect other businesses? One question I have when you suddenly are forced to pay unskilled labor at that rate what happens to the existing supervisors, and managers that will also have to be increased in wages as well. You don’t expect a supervisor to work for less than those they supervise do you? By the way that raise will go right up an up to department managers and what have you. You wouldn’t want to discriminate now would you? I can tell you that hotel owners are preparing their own battle plan, you see a 15.00 dollar wage is about 30,000 dollars a year, wages only, not counting benefits if applicable. Hotel owners are looking at increase of about 600,000 dollars per year, depending on employee count. Where do you suppose they will get that kind of money? Increase room rates? Remove free breakfast (independent properties) what recourse are the owners to take? It does present a problem. Las Vegas does not have to worry, since they pay well above that rate in most cases, but, yes but Las Vegas has casinos, and they generate a lot of money. Las Vegas is unique in many ways and as a whole can’t be thrown in to the mix. I will see where this wage war leads, hope it will all work out for the best.

Questions? Questions?    


Alan Campbell
Alan Campbell
ALAN is a highly accomplished, results oriented Hotelier with many years of experience in developing and delivering strategies and implementing solid organizational cultures that addresses the needs of the customer, colleagues, owners, community and industry. He has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. Alan has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. He considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world – it is the only place that both king’s and Paupers will visit you. Alan is also a featured contributor for, the “Global Hotelier’s Community.”

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