The march on October 25 was historic and monumental. Did you feel our power? “You are the muscle in the room.” Susan Minato, Co-President, UNITE HERE Local 11.
10/25/23: an incredible day for Local 11 workers from Century Blvd to Sky Harbor airport, Downtown LA to Downtown Phoenix, Santa Monica to Orange County, and beyond! We went on strike to win the wages, benefits, and working conditions we deserve—and we’ll keep fighting until we win.
Los Angeles: On Wednesday morning, October 25th, thousands of striking hotel workers from 50 hotels gathered and marched through Downtown Los Angeles to protest poverty wages and the hotels’ exploitation of unhoused refugees to replace striking workers.
The march comes after a fruitless negotiation meeting last week in which a group of hotel employers presented hundreds of SoCal workers with a “new” proposal to resolve the months-long labor dispute. Enraging workers, the hotels did not meaningfully improve upon their prior position, offering no new money for wages, pension, or health insurance. Amid soaring housing costs, workers have been demanding wages that will enable them to afford to live in the communities where they work. Many now commute hours to and from work, with some hotel workers reporting sleeping in their cars.
The march also comes amid a growing scandal involving hotels’ use of unhoused refugees to replace workers during recent strikes. As the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, subcontracted workers, many of whom are unhoused refugees staying in shelters on Skid Row, were brought in to replace unionized workers during the 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 yesterday he 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 reached a tentative agreement with its workers, making it the third hotel to do so, following the lead of the Biltmore Los Angeles and Westin Bonaventure.
Los Angeles, CA: After a historic summer of strikes, UNITE HERE Local 11 and the Biltmore Los Angeles have reached a tentative agreement. The historic Biltmore Los Angeles joins the Westin Bonaventure in achieving settlements with their workers.
“It is great to see our contribution recognized and our compensation increased. This agreement will allow us to go home and sleep a bit more securely,” said Lucy Mijangos, a housekeeper at the Biltmore Los Angeles. “I am so proud of my coworkers for sticking together and grateful for the hotel for doing the right thing. We are committed to making sure every hotel worker wins the same agreement.”
Once the contract is ratified, the 300 workers at the Biltmore Los Angeles will enjoy:
- Unprecedented wage increases that keep pace with the soaring cost of housing in Southern California
- Affordable, excellent family healthcare
- Humane workloads and safe staffing
- Improved pension increases so that workers can retire with dignity
- Numerous improvements, including historic Equal Justice language that, among other things, will provide access to union jobs for formerly incarcerated individuals and ban the use of E-Verify in hiring.
- The Biltmore Los Angeles and the Westin Bonaventure, two of the largest hotels in the city, have emerged as leaders in providing fair wages and benefits for its workers and superior service for guests.
At the same time, dozens of other hotels, including those with far higher room rates such as the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton LA Live, Beverly Hilton, Fairmont Miramar, and Anaheim Hilton, continue to refuse to provide a living wage.
“We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with UNITE HERE Local 11 on behalf of our loyal and dedicated employees. We can now focus together on looking after our guests and providing the level of service our guests have come to expect from the Biltmore Los Angeles,” said Jimmy Wu, General Manager of the Biltmore Los Angeles.
“We applaud the Biltmore Los Angeles for putting their workers and our city first,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “LA is the world’s most important tourist destination, with the World Cup and Olympics coming back to back in 2026 and 2028. This agreement takes steps to ensure that workers who work in LA will be able to live in LA.”
Los Angeles: On Friday, SoCal hotel strikers will march from the InterContinental Los Angeles to the JW Marriott LA Live. Hotel workers from over a dozen properties walked off the job Wednesday, marking the latest development in this massive citywide labor dispute..
The strike came as the American Political Science Association arrived in town. Last week, the workers’ call for conventions to boycott and stay away from Los Angeles marked a major escalation in the largest hotel worker strike in U.S. history. Joining the workers’ call were some APSA members, SEIU Local 99, AFSCME Local 3299, and others. Friday morning, thousands of striking workers plan to march in downtown Los Angeles beginning outside the JW Marriott L.A Live.
In addition, striking workers at the Fairmont Santa Monica learned that the Inter Miami CF and Lionel Messi are slated to stay at the hotel for a game this Sunday against LAFC. Striking workers are asking the team and Messi to honor the boycott and cancel their stay at the hotel, which has also been the center of violence against workers the last few weeks.