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THE 2023 CONTRACT FIGHT
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.
Los Angeles: Hundreds of striking hotel workers will picket and rally at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown and announce the filing of an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the hotel industry’s Coordinated Bargaining Group, which represents a majority of LA’s unionized hotel employers, including Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, and Marriott.
The mass action and announcement of legal filing will denounce a pattern of ugly episodes of violence on picket lines at hotels where workers have been on strike. On Saturday, striking hotel workers led a peaceful march through Santa Monica that ended at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, where the workers and supporters were attacked and tackled to the ground by hotel security as they sought to establish a picket line. Video of the violent episode has gone viral.
Another violent episode occurred on Saturday in Long Beach. Hotel security personnel including a manager at the Maya Hotel sought to forcibly relocate striking workers using a chain link fence while a guest ran around the fence and punched a worker in the head, pushing at least two others.
At the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Dana Point, which is owned by the University of California Retirement Fund and operated by Aimbridge, workers have been repeatedly assaulted, threatened and had property destroyed. The Union alleges that hotel security personnel have failed to assist the Union in identifying guests who have engaged in such conduct, and, in one instance, a hotel security leader allegedly told a guest who had threatened to assault workers that the guest should do what he wanted to do and that the security head would testify on the guest’s behalf.
Last week, John Tesar, the “celebrity chef” behind the Laguna Cliffs’ Knife Modern Steak restaurant, approached striking workers and broke a drum one of the workers was holding. He then told the striking workers: “Take your union and shove it up your ass. Suck my d___. You are a bad person. … You’re a lazy pendeja.” While Aimbridge has claimed that Tesar “has been removed from the property while we continue to investigate this incident,” his relationship to the hotel remains uncertain and, as far as the Union is aware, there have been no consequences for any company personnel or guests for the threatening and violent conduct perpetrated against the workers.
Thousands of workers continue to strike at hotels in or around West Hollywood, LAX, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Long Beach. In total, workers at 46 hotels across LA and Orange Counties have struck in the last month in the largest hotel strike in California history.
Workers are calling on the industry to follow the lead of the Westin Bonaventure, which has reached a tentative agreement that includes a living wage that will enable workers to afford to live in the cities where they work. Yet, rather than agree to provide workers the wages and benefits they are calling for, the hotel industry has tried to curtail workers’ ability to protest and in some cases condoned violence against them, even as the hotels charge top dollar for rooms during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour six-day run at SoFi Stadium.
Meet Mercedes Flores, a housekeeper and worker leader at the Sheraton Grand in DTLA. This is why she has gone on strike.
Rafael has worked at the Westin LAX for 30 years. He is fighting for the five pillars; wages, health insurance, a pension, affordable housing, and fair workloads.