Religious Leaders Fight for Workers' Wages

October 24, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On October 24, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that, "a group of religious leaders gathered Monday to protest Proposition KK, a controversial measure that would forbid the City Council from enacting a citywide wage law. The measure is backed by the city's luxury hotels. During a half-hour demonstration on the 3rd Street Promenade, representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Buddhist faiths quoted religious texts to demonstrate against the measure and support paying local hotel workers a living wage. 'This is not a new struggle,' Santa Monica Methodist minister Sandie Richards said. 'Our religious traditions really enjoin us to speak out against oppression of the workers.' Monday's action is one in a series of protests against Proposition KK by Santa Monicans Allied for Responsible Tourism (SMART), a group of clergy, union leaders and activists fighting to increase wages for local hotel workers. They say hotels are misleading voters by touting Proposition KK as a 'living wage' measure, when it would increase pay for as few as 62 city-contracted workers yet prohibit the city from enacting an ordinance that would benefit hundreds of others. The hotels organized the Proposition KK campaign in response to a proposed citywide living wage ordinance that would require many businesses to pay more than $ 10 an hour. The proposed measure is backed by SMART. Some hotel officials contend they already pay their workers more than $ 9 an hour, well above the state minimum of $5.75."