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Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance

Consideration of Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance

At its October 8, 2019 public meeting, the Board of Port Commissioners directed Port staff to prepare a draft ordinance on hotel worker retention upon change of ownership or operation of hotels on Port property.

The Port has approximately 18 hotels along San Diego Bay. Hotels and other businesses enhance the waterfront, promote commerce and recreation, create vibrant experiences, stimulate positive economic impacts for the State and local community (including thousands of good paying jobs), and bolster the robust regional tourism and hospitality industry. Additionally, as a self-funding agency – the Port does not assess or collect taxes – the Port’s hotel leases (along with other sources) generate revenue that the Port reinvests back into the San Diego Bay waterfront to provide public benefits – including lower cost visitor and recreational facilities – such as parks, piers, boat launches, public safety, environmental protection, arts and activation, infrastructure and more. 

Many public agencies have passed laws or others forms of regulation addressing the retention of hotel workers when a hotel changes owners or operators. Those jurisdictions have stated that changes in ownership, control, or operation of hotels occur frequently in the hotel industry and can trigger mass layoffs of hotel workers and displace employees who are skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced in providing a safe, clean, and enjoyable experience for visitors.

 Draft Ordinance

On October 24, 2019, the Port released for public review and input a draft Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance, which can be viewed at the link below.

REVIEW THE DRAFT HOTEL WORKER RETENTION ORDINANCE

Public Review and Input

The Port of San Diego invites the public to provide feedback via email to hotelworkers@portofsandiego.org through Friday, November 8, 2019.

What is the proposed
Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance?

Patterned after similar ordinances from other jurisdictions, the draft Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance can be summarized as follows:

  • Triggered when a hotel on Port property changes owners or operators through sale, assignment, transfers, or otherwise
  • New hotel employer shall offer employment to existing hotel workers for at least 90 days from change in control, subject to any applicable federal, state or local law and regulation relating to eligibility for employment
  • New hotel employer can only terminate such employees for cause during the 90-day retention period
  • Workers who believe the ordinance has been violated may sue the new employer (the Port is not responsible for enforcement)
  • The ordinance does not create any cause of action against the Port, nor limit employee rights it may otherwise have

Next Steps

As previously directed by the Board, once Port staff collects input from the public and stakeholders, and makes any necessary changes, staff intends to present the draft updated ordinance to the Board of Port Commissioners for consideration at the December 10, 2019 public Board meeting. The meeting agenda will be published in advance of the meeting and can be viewed here. The public will have the opportunity to provide additional feedback. If the Board approves the draft updated ordinance, it will go into effect on January 10, 2020 (the 31st day after approval).