What happens when UNITE HERE Local 11, Writers Guild of America West, and SAG-AFTRA decide to throw a street party? And they are joined by LA County Federation Of Labor, Amusement Area Employees Union Local B-192? This is what happens!
Leticia has two jobs and lives two hours away from her workplace to be able to achieve her dream of home ownership. She has to sleep in her car between jobs and can only see her family on weekends. That’s why she’s on strike.
“Thousands of workers at 33 hotels from Downtown Los Angeles to LAX to Orange County have participated in the largest hotel worker strike in California history,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President UNITE HERE Local 11. “Our city has reached a tipping point. The wealthy continue to live in luxury while workers, from actors and writers to room attendants and servers, live from one paycheck to the next. This fight is ultimately about whether those who make LA prosperous and beautiful will be able to afford to live in LA.”
I feel more empowered now than ever to continue fighting for a good contract. As a single mom, I rarely get to see my six kids because I work two full time jobs to pay my $2,000 rent and keep up with other expenses.
The strike authorization vote comes after more than a month of failed negotiations with our hotel employers. Our key demands are an immediate $5 an hour wage increase to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing; affordable family healthcare; a pension that will enable workers to retire with security; and safe and humane workloads.
Los Angeles, CA: The region’s largest hospitality union, UNITE HERE Local 11, representing over 32,000 room attendants, cooks, dishwashers, front desk agents, servers and food service workers, voted to authorize a strike today.
During the pandemic, hotels received $15 billion in federal bailouts and cut jobs and guest services such as daily room cleaning. In 2023, Hotel profits in Los Angeles and Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels, yet hospitality workers continue to struggle to afford a place to live in the cities where they work.
Top on the list of concerns for hotel workers is the rising cost of housing. In a UNITE HERE Local 11 survey, 53% of workers said that they either have moved in the past 5 years or will move in the near future because of soaring housing costs.
The strike authorization vote comes after more than a month of failed negotiations with hotel employers–including Hyatt, Hilton, Highgate, Accor, IHG, and Marriott. The union’s key demands are an immediate $5 an hour wage increase to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing; affordable family healthcare; a pension that will enable workers to retire with security, and a safe and humane workload. Negotiations began on April 20 but the hotel industry has yet to respond with any wage proposals.
“I voted yes to strike because I commute two hours from my home in Apple Valley to downtown Los Angeles. I deserve to make enough money to live near where I work.” said Brenda Mendoza, a uniform attendant at the JW Marriott LA Live.
“Hotel workers who work in the booming Los Angeles’ tourism industry must be able to live in Los Angeles,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “The industry shamelessly exploited the pandemic and is now reaping greater profits than ever before. Yet workers cannot afford to pay the rent. This 96% vote to authorize a strike sends a clear message to the industry that workers have reached their limit and are prepared to strike to secure a living wage.”
Southern California will be the first city in modern history to host back-to-back the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028. In recent decades, these mega sports events have left local governments indebted for years and have permanently displaced millions of poor residents. UNITE HERE Local 11 is calling on the industry and political leadership to use the events to transform tourism jobs into family sustaining jobs and solve the housing crisis.
On June 8, 2023 thousands of Local 11 members will vote to authorize a strike for better wages, affordable housing, a better pension, healthcare, and fair workloads. Sí se puede!