Fitted Sheet or Commit a Crime? Featured column by Bobbie Singh-Allen in FlashReport Published on 8/25/11
[Publisher's Note: As part of an ongoing effort to bring original, thoughtful commentary to you here at the FlashReport, I am pleased to present this column from Bobbie Singh-Allen. Singh-Allen is the Executive Director of the Independent Lodging Industry Association. - Flash]
As California businesses struggle to stay open and provide needed jobs, California lawmakers will decide the fate of SB 432, legislation introduced by Senator Kevin de Leon that mandates lodging establishments use a fitted sheet or commit a crime.
The California Lodging Industry Association (CLIA) and the Independent Lodging Industry Association (ILIA) are opposed to this onerous legislation which directs Cal/OSHA to regulate the type of sheets a lodging establishment must use.
Cal/OSHA regulates working conditions for housekeepers to ensure their safety. Hotels ensure they are in compliance to safety standards to protect their workforce. Increased injuries would lead to law suits, insurance claims and lost work days. These outcomes are not ideal for workers or the businesses that employ them. In the end, the consumer also pays through higher rates at hotel stays.
The provisions of SB 432 would impose significant costs to the lodging industry, especially small independent hotels/motels that struggle to remain open in this downward economy. Many of the members that belong to CLIA and ILIA are small businesses and independent hotels. A state mandate requiring fitted sheets can cost millions of dollars statewide if all hotels/motels must replace flat sheets with fitted sheets.
For John Manderfeld, President of Marin Management, the cost to replace flat sheets with fitted sheets would be over $250,000. Marin Management oversees dozens of hotels in California alone and that expense is a significant hit to everyone associated with their properties.
CLIA and ILIA believe that the issues should be fully evaluated in the regulatory environment, rather than summarily in the legislative environment.
CLIA and ILIA conducted a survey and learned that many housekeepers prefer using flat sheets over fitted sheets for their ease of use and laundering. Fitted sheets take longer to dry and have a higher rate of wear and tear.
The lodging industry plays a vital role in California's tourism economy. Travel and tourism generates more than $87.7 billion in local taxes and $3.4 billion in state taxes, and employs over 881,000 Californians across the state.
Housekeepers are valued employees in every hotel, and properties have every incentive to keep workers healthy and workers compensation costs down. But the legislature should not substitute its judgement for that of hoteliers and should not prejudge an ergonomic study on this issue. Legislators are not experts on sheets!
CLIA and ILIA need your help opposing this measure; this legislation is not part of jobs first agenda that California so desperately needs!
Headquartered in Sacramento, CLIA is a member lodging and hospitality industry association, providing legislative, educational, marketing, and profit-oriented programs for independent lodging owners and operators.