After getting an earful from hotel industry workers, the Anchorage Assembly postponed consideration of a measure offered earlier by Chairman Felix Rivera and member Forrest Dunbar to mandate “large” hotels must offer to rehire workers laid off because of COVID-19 or retain them after changes in ownership.
The workers made it clear they thought the ordinance was unnecessary. The vote was 9-2 to indefinitely table the likely unconstitutional proposal, with Rivera and Dunbar the only two hoping against hope to move it forward.
Their proposed ordinance, AO 2020-84(S), would have provided “protection for hotel workers’ employment by amending Anchorage Municipal Code with a new chapter requiring large hotel employers to offer rehire to employees laid off in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to retain eligible workers for a period of time after a change in ownership or control, and thereafter consider offering them continued employment….”
We are unsure why the ordinance, an intrusive solution to a nonexistent problem, was offered to begin with, and we are not alone. Assemblyman John Weddleton, after listening to hotel workers disparage the ordinance, wondered aloud: “Why are we doing this?”
Our question remains: Where is it written that government gets to tell employers large or small what they will and will not do when it comes to employment? Happily, nine Assembly members got it right and kept the city out of the hotel business – at least for now.
As we suggested earlier, if Rivera and Dunbar want to stick their noses into the whozits, whatzits and howzits of hotel hiring and firing they should buy their own hotel and have a field day.
But leave the city out of it.