HOTELS' WORKERS APPROVE NEW PACT.
Hotel workers overwhelmingly ratified a new contract Thursday, averting what one official estimated could have been the loss of tens of millions of dollars from tourism as summer vacations begin.
Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa, who helped broker the agreement after two marathon meetings with hotel operators and union leaders in his City Hall offices last week, said the agreement showed the world ``Los Angeles is open for business.''
``We are telling people who canceled their meetings here because of the fear of boycotts to come back, that we are ready for them and want them to come here,'' said Villaraigosa, who takes office on July 1. ``And, I'm ready to do my part to sell the city. I'll call CEOs and anyone else it takes to spread the word.''
Villaraigosa appeared at a news conference in front of Disney Hall with hotel operators, tourism officials and members of UNITE Here, Local 11, which represents the 2,800 workers at seven major hotels that set the standard for pay and benefits in the city.
The contract, which received support from 98 percent of the workers, increases wages for non-tipped employees by 15 cents an hour beginning in October, with hourly increases of 25 cents in each of the two following years. It also increases overtime pay for workers who do receive tips and guarantees family health insurance.
The parties had been negotiating for 14 months and were stalled with the threat of a lockout starting last weekend.