Santa Monica, CA: A new wave of worker strikes began early Monday morning in response to hotel companies’ failure to provide an economic proposal at last Thursday’s negotiations. The wave will start in Santa Monica hotels, including the Fairmont Miramar (101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401). With these walkouts, hotel workers have struck more than 100 times in the largest hotel strike in U.S. history.
Two issues dominated negotiations on Thursday, September 21st. First, hotel workers demanded an end to violence against striking workers. Strikers at the Fairmont Miramar as well as the Maya Long Beach and Laguna Cliffs Marriott have been the subject of violent assaults by guests and security personnel. More recently, the JW Marriott LA Live summoned the LAPD against picketing workers and their supporters who were detained and cited for using drums during a peaceful demonstration. The employers refused to acknowledge the violence, much less commit to ending it.
Second, dozens of workers spoke about their inability to pay for their housing and their commitment to continue fighting until they win a wage that allows them to live in the city where they work. The Union then made a new economic proposal. After a more than three-hour caucus, the hotel company representatives returned without any counter proposal.
“I still have pain on my arms and knees from when security guards pushed me on the pavement.” said German Martinez, a dishwasher of 34 years at the Fairmont Miramar. “It was disrespectful to see our employer not even address or apologize to us, and instead come back with no offer. We will do what we have to do until we get the fair contract we deserve.”
Hotel workers across the region representing 15,000 workers walked out beginning the Fourth of July weekend. They are demanding wages to help keep up with the rising cost of housing, better pension plans to retire with dignity, humane workloads and affordable family healthcare. Workers have called for a boycott of hotels across Los Angeles until the companies put an end to the violence and agree to a contract with living wages.