PRESS RELEASE: Boycott of Hotel Figueroa and Restaurant Operator, The Botanical Group, Declared Following Firings, Shootings, and Unsettled Labor Dispute; Letter Signed by Hundreds Delivered

LOS ANGELES:  UNITE HERE Local 11 and dozens of workers and clergy leaders from CLUE held a press conference calling for a boycott of the Hotel Figueroa and The Botanical Group, which is the newest restaurant operator, on Thursday.  The worker-called boycott marks a significant escalation in a months-long labor dispute that began last July.

“I’m calling for a boycott of the hotel because our jobs are very difficult, and the company’s response to our strike and their failure to sign a fair contract has shown that they don’t value or respect us,” said Noelia Gonzales, room attendant at the Figueroa Hotel.

The hotel’s workers, who have been protesting and striking for wages enabling them to afford to live in Los Angeles amid soaring housing costs, have faced violence on the picket line.  During a strike in January, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, workers were fired upon by a sniper, apparently using an air rifle, with large metal ball bearings.  They have taken to wearing bullet proof vests and helmets on the picket lines.  The unknown assailant remains at large.

“I was shot twice with metal ball bearings from across the street while on strike with my coworkers. I was hit on my neck and feet. We do not deserve to risk our safety simply because we are advocating for ourselves. I want there to be justice, and for the violence that we endured to not go unnoticed, that is why we are calling for a boycott,” said Felix Vanegas, houseman at the Figueroa Hotel.

Making matters even worse, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, more than one hundred food and beverage workers were fired in February by the hotel’s former food and beverage operator after workers began an effort to unionize.  After a brief closure, a new operator reopened the Cafe Fig and other outlets, but without the workers who had staffed the restaurant for years.  UNITE HERE Local 11 has requested that the Office of Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto investigate potential violations of Los Angeles’s Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance.

Workers and community allies delivered a letter signed by nearly 500  people demanding that the hotel bring back the “Figueroa 100.” Workers are calling for tourists and visitors to choose alternatives for any travel and events until all of the workers have won the dignity and respect they deserve and the fired restaurant workers are returned to work.

“We denounce the violence picketing workers have endured with metal ball pellets shot at them while on strike and we demand the hotel bring back the Figueroa 100. Why should workers have to be out in the street subjecting themselves to this kind of violence-literally picketing in bulletproof vests, helmets, and goggles?  It should not take this kind of bravery to simply get a company to pay wages that workers can live on.  You cannot treat people like this,” said Ada Briceño, co-president UNITE HERE Local 11.

Joining the workers was Reverend Edgar Colon of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, “CLUE will join the boycott of this establishment, and will neither eat, meet, sleep or gather here until the issues that the workers have laid out have been resolved.

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.