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Kansas City

Minimum Wage Proposal

AAHOA opposes efforts to raise the Kansas City minimum wage because of its considerable potential to increase unemployment, adversely impact first-time job seekers and discourage employers from expanding their businesses.

On July 10th, 2015 AAHOA and industry partners including AH&LA, Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association, and 11 other associations, sent a letter to Mayor Sly James. In the letter, Mayor James is encouraged to cease any further proceedings regarding an extreme wage increase within the city, and reminded that, in the opinion of our associations, "the City of Kansas City lacks the legal authority to establish any minimum wage for private sector employees." You can read the letter in its entirety here

Click here to send a message to Mayor Sly James and all City Councilmembers and let them know how a minimum wage increase will hurt your business. 

Two meetings are currently scheduled by the City Council and AAHOA urges you and your fellow small business owners to attend and ensure your voices are heard!

**Please scroll down to see what you can do to help protect small businesses in this fight**

Background

In May of 2015, various labor and social justice groups presented the Kansas City, City Council with a petition to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour by September 1, 2015, and phase in a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2020. Members of the Council and Mayor Sly James pledged to increase the minimum wage in some fashion moving forward.

The City Council deferred a measure to place an increase in the minimum wage on the public ballot in August after the lodging industry and other business leaders explained the negative effects the proposal would have on jobs and businesses in the city. Since May, the Council has been meeting with interested groups and is set to take further action at a meeting on July 16, 2015.

A new law passed by the General Assembly may offer cities the opportunity to establish their own wage standards, if adopted by August 28, 2015.

AAHOA’s Concerns

As job creators and investors in local economies, hoteliers welcome discussions on how to increase opportunities for growth and development that will help the community. Small business owners are eager to support proactive proposals to create private sector jobs and increase economic development.  However, the current proposal before the Kanas City, City Council that seeks to mandate a nearly 96% increase in the minimum wage will have a dramatically destructive effect on the local workforce and economy. The measure would undermine hoteliers’ abilities to effectively run their businesses, as hotels operate under remarkably thin margins. For small businesses, the ability to maintain and acquire employees is a delicate proposition and a city directive mandating small businesses absorb additional labor costs is unreasonable. In some cases, employers may be driven to reduce the size of their workforces, delay hiring new employees, or in the worst cases, companies will be forced to close their doors.

Hoteliers in Kansas City, are not faceless corporate entities – they are members of the local community who own and operate franchises and independent businesses. These small business owners work very hard to provide jobs to local workers and boost local economies.

Discussion Points

  • AAHOA members are entrepreneurs who own and operate independent businesses and live and work in the local community
  • Hoteliers are largely franchisees who pay a licensing fee for the use of brand marketing operations and loyalty programs
  • It is the hotelier who employs the workforce and who must make payroll each month - not a faceless corporation
  • A $15-per-hour wage in Kansas City would amount to a 96 percent increase from the current level
  • The Majority of AAHOA members and Kansas City hoteliers already pay employees above the minimum wage and employees can quickly earn raises in a hotel work environment
  • New staff usually start out at the minimum wage and their compensation is quickly increased, usually within 90 days
  • Newly mandated changes will dramatically affect wages across the entire pay scale by creating increased pressure on existing wages for veteran employees   
  • Small business owners who can afford to employ multiple workers at current wages may be unable to retain the same number of employees at higher wages
  • Employees are like family.  In fact, many hourly employees have been with the same hotel for several years
  • A higher minimum wage would make it more difficult for employers to hire additional workers due to increased labor costs
  • Entry-level workers will find it difficult to find jobs and enter the workforce
  • Increased costs will constrain hoteliers from growing their businesses and prevent them from investing more into the local economy

Conclusions

AAHOA members firmly support the wellbeing of their employees. For many small businesses, the relationship between employees and employers is very closely knit.  Therefore, it is important to understand the adverse impacts that drastically altering the wage structure will have on the ability for business owners to retain employees, hire new workers and grow their businesses. As first and second generation Americans, AAHOA members and their families understand challenges workers face first hand. Many hoteliers started out as housekeepers, maintenance men, and desk workers - cleaning rooms, making repairs, booking reservations and doing every job necessary to ensure a fully operational hotel. Now they are in a position to create jobs and help others to succeed. It is therefore critically important to understand that AAHOA members live and work in the local community and they are ones responsible to make the payroll for their employees.  These community leaders want to invest locally and can only do so when they are assured of a stable and consistent employment environment.

What can you do?

Click here to send a message to Mayor Sly James and all City Councilmembers and let them know how a minimum wage increase will hurt your business. 

Communicate with your public officials

  • Telephone calls
  • Letters/emails to public officials
  • Attend district events
  • Meet with public officials
Three meetings are currently scheduled by the City Council and AAHOA urges you and your fellow small business owners to attend and ensure your voices are heard!
 
How to find your public officials
Social media
  • What is It & Why Use It
    • Dialogue - raise awareness for the issue 
    • Community
    • Build Relationships
    • Connect with the Audience
  • How to Engage
    • Be authentic, honest, open to dialogue, compelling, useful, relevant, and engaging
    • Connect with your public officials by openly engaging with them
  • What Channels to Use
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Google+
    • Linkedin

Write a Letter to the Editor of a Newspaper

A letter to the editor is a credible way for you to express your opinion on a particular issue on which the newspaper reported. Please contact the AAHOA Government Affairs office for advice at 202-507-6156.

Tips for writing a letter to the editor

  • Respond the same day or not at all.
  • Identify yourself and why you are qualified to comment.
  • Keep it short. • Make it punchy and sharp.
  • Know the style and format of where you are sending your letter.