Since the pandemic, the region’s largest economic engine, the tourism industry, is celebrating record profits while hospitality workers are overworked, fighting to stay housed and alive. In 2023, workers have the opportunity to reclaim the right to live and work in their community.
UNITE HERE Local 11 has lined up over 100 contracts to expire this year, with the goal to lift the low standards of service workers, as the city of Los Angeles prepares for the World Cup (2026) and the Olympics (2028). We are ready to welcome millions to the region, and we intend to seize the moment to ensure our place in the economic boom headed our way.
Over the Labor Day weekend, workers across the region were shown immense solidarity. At the Fairmont Santa Monica, striking workers learned that the Inter Miami CF and Lionel Messi were slated to stay at the hotel for a game this Sunday against LAFC. Striking workers then asked Messi and the team to siupport the boycott and cancel their stay at the hotel, which was a site of violence against workers several weeks ago.
Meanwhile hotel workers at the W Hollywood on strike celebrated Labor Day with drumming, picketing, chanting, and were even joined for an impromptu jam by the famed Los Jornaleros del Norte band outside the Hollywood hot spot.
Throughout Labor Day weekend 19 hotels and concession workers at the Ontario Airport haver been on strike, fighting for wages that will keep up with the rising cost of housing. Thousands of workers at over 46 properties have struck since July 1.
Los Angeles: Areas at LAX employs cashiers, dishwashers, cooks, bartenders, and food attendants at concessions concepts, such as Homeboy Bakery, Dunkin Donuts, Urth Cafe, California Pizza Kitchen, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Ford’s in all terminals, including the Tom Bradley International terminal.
“My entire family works for AREAS USA–myself, my sister, my brother, and my mom. None of us make enough money to survive,” said Cecilia Otea, barista at Urth Bar. “All of us have to work and live together to afford living in LA. I’m voting yes to strike so my entire family can have a better life.”
Workers’ collective bargaining agreement with Areas expired on June 30th, 2022. Their primary contract demands include livable wages to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing, a pension to retire with dignity, and fair staffing.
During the pandemic, airport concessionaires received over $1 billion in federal relief and cut staffing. While the industry has more than recovered, workers struggle to afford a place to live near where they work. Airport workers live as far away as Lancaster, California City, and Bakersfield.
Workers could walk out any day starting Labor Day weekend, joining thousands of hotel workers, also represented by UNITE HERE Local 11, who have engaged in a wave of strikes since the 4th of July weekend.
“Workers all over the city have reached their breaking point,” said Susan Minato, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “The travel and tourism industry exploited the pandemic and continues to rake in profits while their workers, the ones who actually make all this possible, are left living paycheck to paycheck, one emergency away from homelessness. It’s time the industry pays workers their fair share and if workers have to strike to make that happen, they will.”
Los Angeles: On Friday, SoCal hotel strikers will march from the InterContinental Los Angeles to the JW Marriott LA Live. Hotel workers from over a dozen properties walked off the job Wednesday, marking the latest development in this massive citywide labor dispute..
The strike came as the American Political Science Association arrived in town. Last week, the workers’ call for conventions to boycott and stay away from Los Angeles marked a major escalation in the largest hotel worker strike in U.S. history. Joining the workers’ call were some APSA members, SEIU Local 99, AFSCME Local 3299, and others. Friday morning, thousands of striking workers plan to march in downtown Los Angeles beginning outside the JW Marriott L.A Live.
In addition, striking workers at the Fairmont Santa Monica learned that the Inter Miami CF and Lionel Messi are slated to stay at the hotel for a game this Sunday against LAFC. Striking workers are asking the team and Messi to honor the boycott and cancel their stay at the hotel, which has also been the center of violence against workers the last few weeks.
Los Angeles: Today, thousands of UNITE HERE Local 11 hotel workers at multiple properties walked out on strike fighting for wages to keep up with the rising cost of housing and a new contract.
The strike comes as the citywide convention of the American Political Science Association (APSA) begins on Wednesday in Los Angeles. Hundreds of APSA members have canceled their plans to attend after APSA leadership defied requests by hotel workers to cancel the event.
Last week, the workers’ call for conventions to boycott and stay away from Los Angeles marked a major escalation in the largest hotel worker strike in U.S. history. Joining the workers’ call were APSA members, SEIU Local 99, AFSCME Local 3299, and others.
“As a mother I often have to choose between paying for my rent and buying groceries. The solution is simple, hotels need to agree to the wages that we need to stay housed. Until then, we will continue to call on all groups and conventions coming to Los Angeles to boycott,” said Delmy Cabañas, Housekeeper at the JW Marriott L.A LIVE.
“Strikes and disruption will be the norm at LA hotels until the industry pays its workers a living wage. We are saddened that APSA leadership sided with greedy hotel corporations over the call of workers for a living wage. We applaud those political science professors who stayed away from LA. Those professors who came to LA will reside in, to borrow the hotel industry’s new slogan, ‘Hotel Hell.’ Dirty rooms and non stop noise will be the only amenities,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11.
“For those who are deciding on whether to hold your event in LA including FIFA and the Olympics, the choice is clear. On one side, there is the boundless greed and violent conduct of rapacious corporations. On the other side, there is the sacrifice, solidarity and courage of these workers fighting for a living wage. Which side are you on?”
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