Santa Monica: Hundreds of hotel workers from multiple properties across Santa Monica, including at Le Meridien Delfina, walked out on strike demanding that hotels pay them living wages that allow them to afford housing. Workers also call upon the hotels to hire unhoused refugees who were exploited during prior strikes.
The strike and march comes amid a growing scandal involving hotels’ use of unhoused refugees to replace workers during recent strikes. As the Los Angeles Times reported, subcontracted workers, many of whom are unhoused refugees staying in shelters on Skid Row, were brought in to replace unionized workers during earlier strikes. Some of the workers were sent to California on buses from Texas as part of Texas Governor Abbot’s publicity stunts.
The subcontracted workers have since alleged that they were exploited while workers in the hotels, with some reporting they were deprived of their legally required meal and rest breaks and were paid in hand-written checks with no explanation of their hourly wage or hours worked. District Attorney George Gascon announced last week that his office would be conducting an investigation.
While most hotels operated by large chains have remained intransigent in response to workers’ demands for living wages, there have been some breakthroughs. Most recently, the Loews Hollywood Hotel and the Laguna Cliffs Marriott reached tentative agreements with their respective workers, making them the third and fourth hotels to do so, following the lead of the Biltmore Los Angeles and Westin Bonaventure.