(March 13, 2007) -- As first reported on LBReport.com's front page on March 12, LB City Clerk Larry Herrera has indicated that opponents of the Council-passed "labor peace" ordinance have submitted sufficient petition signatures to suspend the labor peace ordinance.
A 3% random sample of the 35,468 signatures submitted by opponents of the labor peace measure indicated there were 23,477 valid petition signatures (20,613 were needed). (The actual count was done by the County Registrar-Recorder.)
The ordinance now cannot revived without a vote of the people, which depends on further Council action. The Council can submit it to LB voters at either the next regularly scheduled municipal election or at a special election not less than 88 days after an order to hold such an election. Or the Council could simply repeal the ordinance.
The "labor peace" ordinance was supported by the Unite Here! union and, after a Mayoral veto and some redrafting, it was enacted by the Council in January on a 5-3 vote (DeLong, Gabelich, Lerch dissenting).
Unite Here local 681, which supported the labor peace ordinance, represents hotel workers, housekeepers, bellmen, servers, cooks, dishwashers, and other hotel employees and restaurant workers at two hotels on city-owned property (Coast LB Hotel and Queen Mary) and also represents workers at the LB Yacht Club, LB's Petroleum Club and several LB restaurants.
The LB Area Chamber of Commerce, working with a "Hospitality Alliance" comprised of the LB Airport Marriott, Hyatt Regency LB and their supporters pursued the referendum to suspend and overturn the "labor peace" ordinance affecting the two aforementioned hotels which operate on city property with non-union workers.
This is the second referendum victory for the LB Area Chamber, which previously backed a WalMart-sponsored entity's successful petition referendum to suspend a Council-enacted ban on certain big box operations.
Signature gathering for the labor peace referendum was marked by intense audible and visible advocacy. The Unite Here! union said it paid to transmit recorded telephone messages voiced by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV). urging LB voters not to sign the petitions. Supporters of Unite Here! also appeared at ELB and high-propensity voter areas and dogged petition gatherers, urging LB voters not to sign the petitions.
In response, 3rd district Councilman Gary DeLong (as a private citizen with his personal email address) transmitted a mass email expressing concerns over what he described as disruption of the petition gathering process. That was followed by a recorded telephone message from Councilman DeLong which said in part,
"I urge every Chamber member that is a Long Beach resident to sign a petition (if you haven't already) and deliver it to the Chamber. Together we can send a message that our City should not be in the labor organizing business."