HUFFPOST: Striking Workers Battle Hotel Owned By Union Pension Fund

BREAKING NEWS: Five Hotels – Sofitel, 2 Hyatts in Long Beach, Hyatt Andaz, Hyatt Shay – Sign Tentative Agreements with UNITE HERE Local 11, Raising Total to 34 Hotels

Los Angeles, CA: Hundreds of workers – including those at the Sofitel, Hyatt Shay in Culver City, Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Hyatt Centric The Pike Long Beach, and Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood – are the latest to win tentative agreements in the largest hotel strike in U.S. history.  Workers have struck more than 130 times since contracts expired last July.

Once the contract is ratified, the workers will enjoy the same extraordinary standard achieved in the previous tentative agreements, including:

  • Unprecedented wage increases that keep pace with the soaring cost of housing
  • Affordable, excellent family healthcare
  • Humane workloads and safe staffing
  • Improved pension increases so that workers can retire with dignity
  • Language improvements, including Equal Justice language that, among other things, will help to provide access to union jobs for formerly incarcerated individuals and unprecedented protections for immigrant workers

Thirty-four hotels have reached tentative agreements with UNITE HERE Local 11. Private-equity owned Aimbridge Hospitality (Hyatt Regency LAX, Holiday Inn LAX,  Doubletree DTLA, Hampton Inn Santa Monica, Courtyard Santa Monica, Sheraton Park Anaheim) continues to resist their workers’ demands. Workers have called a boycott – Shamebridge – which has resulted in Aimbridge losing operating contracts at two LA hotels.

“My coworkers and I stuck together until we won what we deserved. We will keep fighting alongside our sisters and brothers at the Hotel Maya, Hyatt Regency LAX and others until they win too!” said Morena Hernandez, housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood.

“We applaud Hyatt and Sofitel for recognizing that their workers are essential to their success,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Our members have never once faltered in this fight to win a wage that allows them to live near where they work.  They have overcome intimidation, violence, and nothing will stop them until all hotels – including those run by private equity behemoths – sign this agreement.”

PRE-GRAMMY PARTY: Rat Allegations Soil Influencer Favorite W Hollywood Hotel

Los Angeles–Dozens of cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents from across the LA area will stage an action outside of the Sky Terrace at W Hollywood. Workers and supporters will wear rat costumes and related props while the restaurant’s soft launch takes place.

The action will draw attention to workers’ allegations, as reported in the LA Times last December, that they have repeatedly observed what appeared to be rats in the dry food storage room of the Hotel’s basement and on the building’s rooftop Sky Terrace restaurant, both operated by Mosaic. Workers documented alleged rodent sightings as recently as mid-October of 2023. Concerned for their health and safety, workers submitted a complaint to Cal/OSHA on November 16, 2023 and requested that their employer take action. The complaint with Cal/OSHA remains pending investigation.

The Sky Terrace is located on the rooftop of the W Hotel building. Both the W Hollywood Hotel, operated by Marriott, and Sky Terrace, operated by Mosaic, have been embroiled in protracted labor disputes with their employees since union contract expired last summer. The Sky Terrace is also the subject of pending unfair labor practice charges filed by workers after the restaurant fired eight employees who had participated in the campaign for improved wages and working conditions.

Workers across Los Angeles hotels have been in an ongoing labor dispute with hotel employers since July, fighting for better wages and working conditions in what has become the largest hotel worker strike in modern history. The workers’ primary contract goals include wage increases to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing in Los Angeles, quality and affordable health insurance, a pension to retire with dignity, and humane workloads.

The W Hollywood building is owned by private equity firms Oaktree Capital Management and Trinity Investments. Los Angeles-based Oaktree, which has $189 billion under management, states on its website that “Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) considerations directly and materially impact investment outcomes,” but has failed to resolve the escalating labor disputes at the W Hollywood and Sky Terrace.

PRESS RELEASE: With New Hotel License Requirement Looming, UNITE HERE Local 11 Raises Alleged Worker Rights Violations at Carpenters Union Fund-Owned Hyatt Regency LAX with LA Police Commission

Los Angeles: The Carpenters pension fund-owned Hyatt Regency LAX may be at risk of being unable to obtain an operating license required by the Los Angeles Responsible Hotels Ordinance.  The hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 11, has sent a letter to the Los Angeles Police Commission to inform it of allegations of worker rights violations at the Hyatt Regency LAX, which is owned by the Southwest Carpenters Pension Fund.

The Hyatt Regency LAX is owned by the Southwest Carpenters Pension Fund, and the trustees of this pension fund include leaders of the Carpenters Union. The hotel is operated by Aimbridge Hospitality. The occupy action comes on the heels of UNITE HERE Local 11’s call for a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality properties in Southern California, which includes the Hyatt Regency LAX, among others, known as “Shamebridge”.

The Police Commission is responsible for considering license applications from hotel operators under the Ordinance’s new hotel permitting scheme. Permits may be denied based on findings of violations of worker rights.

Housekeeping workers at the Hyatt Regency LAX have alleged that the Hotel is not in compliance with the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance, which is among the “local employment laws” that employers must comply with in order to obtain an operating permit under the new licensing regime. In particular, workers have alleged that the Hotel is not complying with the workload provisions of the Ordinance, which ensure fair pay for burdensome workloads. Room attendants report that, with room quotas of 14 rooms a day, they believe they regularly clean more than 3,500 square feet per shift but are not paid the double pay the Ordinance requires of hotels that assign such heavy workloads.

The letters asked the Board of Police Commissioners to consider the alleged noncompliance with the Ordinance and to monitor any potential investigations or claims into consideration in evaluating the permit applications of the hotel.

Workers across Los Angeles hotels have been in an ongoing labor dispute with hotel employers since July, and while numerous tentative contract agreements have been reached across Los Angeles and Orange County since November, Hyatt Regency LAX and Aimbridge Hospitality have consistently refused to meet the new hotel contract standards.

The workers’ primary contract goals include wage increases to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing in Los Angeles, quality and affordable health insurance, a pension to retire with dignity, and humane workloads. Workers are demanding that Aimbridge and the Hyatt-operated properties sign the standard-setting agreement, which 30 other hotels across the region have agreed to.

“Shamebridge”: Hotel Workers Launch Boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality

UNITE HERE Local 11 members announced a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality, the largest third-party hotel operator in the world, until the company agrees to sign a fair contract at all of its union properties. The boycott calls for tourists and visitors to choose alternatives for any travel and events at the following properties:

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Pedro – Port of Los Angeles
Courtyard by Marriott Santa Monica
Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Monica
Hilton Pasadena
Hyatt Regency LAX
Holiday Inn Los Angeles – LAX Airport
Sheraton Park Hotel Anaheim
Blackstone-owned Aloft El Segundo
Blackstone-owned Fairfield El Segundo

In addition to launching the “Shamebridge” boycott, workers at Aimbridge-operated hotels will also hold actions at the Doubletree DTLA on Monday, plan to strike at the Sheraton Park in Anaheim during the National Association of Music Merchants conference, and do “occupy” actions next week unless agreements are reached.

The boycott and escalated actions at Aimbridge-operated hotels follow 29 tentative contract agreements reached across Los Angeles and Orange County between hotels and their workers. Aimbridge Hospitality has failed to meet the hotel contract standard, leading to what has become protracted labor disputes at the listed properties.

“Aimbridge Hospitality has not only refused to listen to its workers, but it has met them with contempt and greed,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “By boycotting Aimbridge properties, travelers and tourists to Southern California have an opportunity to stand against corporate injustice and support workers who are fighting for a dignified way of life.”

Maria Gurola, a cook at the Doubletree San Pedro, expressed indignation with Aimbridge’s failure to sign a new contract. “I’ve worked at the Doubletree San Pedro for 11 years, and I still struggle to pay my bills. We need Aimbridge to show us the respect we deserve and agree to a contract that lets us live in the city we work in.”

Also, as local hotels prepare to host thousands of guests for the annual NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Center, workers at the Aimbridge-operated Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim are prepared to strike if the hotel does not sign a tentative agreement by the time the conference begins on January 25.

“We’ve been fighting for a contract since July,” says housekeeper Maria Luisa Posada, who has worked at the Sheraton Park Anaheim for over 40 years. “With the NAMM show coming, Aimbridge leaves us with no choice but to go out on strike.”

Aimbridge has been embroiled in controversy since the beginning of the Southern California hotel strike. Among other developments, last October, housekeepers at the San Pedro DoubleTree filed a class-action lawsuit against a subsidiary of the operator, alleging violations of panic buttons and other worker safety provisions of the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance.

The union has also filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Aimbridge at two hotel properties alleging that managers unlawfully interfered with the rights of employees to engage in union or other protected activity. The charges are pending investigation by the National Labor Relations Board. Meanwhile, the California Labor Commissioner and Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon are investigating allegations of the exploitation of unhoused migrant workers at Aimbridge properties.