Rep. Porter Presses for Investigation into Marriott Junk Fees
Congresswoman calls out hotel chain for deceptively charging guests for ‘compliance’ with worker protection laws
Today, Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) and Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) wrote to Lina Khan, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to highlight recent reports that Marriott hotels in Los Angeles have been charging a junk fee under the guise of compliance with local worker protection laws.
“Travelers deserve to know the price they’ll pay up front, and workers deserve to feel safe and valued in the workplace,” said Rep. Porter. “Marriott is abusing worker protection laws to boost profits and scam consumers. The federal government has a duty to investigate this junk fee and put an end to unfair practices that raise costs for Americans.”
Los Angeles’ Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance seeks to keep employees safe from harassment and threatening conduct, and it requires large hotels to pay workers a fair wage. Marriott has charged guests an extra $10-14 per room per night—likely well beyond the cost of compliance. A new lawsuit alleges that Marriott could make $3.6 million annually from the junk fee at just a single hotel in the LA area.
“If allowed to persist, we believe that the so-called ‘Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance Costs Surcharge’ would set a dangerous precedent, potentially permitting hospitality companies to overcharge guests for alleged compliance with laws that protect workers from sexual harassment and assault by providing panic buttons, ensure fair pay for heavy workloads, and provide minimum wages,” the lawmakers wrote.
In the letter, the Members encouraged Chair Khan to take immediate action to protect hotel guests and employees from this egregious profiteering. They also requested a meeting to discuss how Congress and the FTC can collaborate to hold companies accountable for corporate abuse.
“These junk fees are shameless attempts to turn the public against common-sense protections for Los Angeles hotel workers, while raking in even more profits from customers in the process,” says Kurt Petersen, co-president of the hotel workers union UNITE HERE Local 11. “We commend Rep. Katie Porter and the Biden-Harris administration for their leadership on this issue.”
Congresswoman Porter is a proud champion of workers and a tireless advocate for corporate accountability. She’s introduced legislation to crack down on industry-coordinated price hikes and protect Americans when traveling. In March, Rep. Porter echoed President Biden’s calls for Congress to eliminate junk fees. As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, Rep. Porter called out corporations for price-gouging consumers and contributing to inflation last year.
Read the full letter HERE.