BREAKING NEWS: 06/21/2022

Los Angeles City Council Votes to Adopt UNITE HERE Local 11’s Groundbreaking Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance

Los Angeles will be one of the nation’s first to require daily room cleaning, panic buttons, and fair compensation for heavy workloads

Los Angeles – Today, the Los Angeles City Council voted to adopt the Hotel Worker Protection Initiative, heeding the call of more than 100,000 Angelenos who signed on to the measure. The law provides:

  • Automatic daily room cleaning throughout the industry
  • Panic buttons and other security measures to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and threatening conduct
  • Fair compensation for heavy workloads
  • Expansion of minimum wage law for hotel workers

By adopting the initiative, the Council will make the initiative an ordinance, avoiding an expensive and divisive general election campaign in November. The ordinance will make Los Angeles one of the nation’s first cities to require daily room cleaning.

The housekeeping measure comes in response to the hotel industry’s attempt to cut labor costs and increase workloads by eliminating daily room cleaning during the pandemic. It also provides vital protections against sexual assault for housekeepers while cleaning guest rooms.

“The city stood with me and thousands of hotel workers by passing a right to return law in June 2020.” said Martha Moran, a laid off housekeeper from the storied Chateau Marmont. “Now, the council has once again chosen to do what is right for thousands of housekeepers in Los Angeles by voting to  adopt protections like panic buttons, automatic daily room cleaning, and fair pay for heavy workloads.”

“Angelenos, and now our city’s leadership, have shown the hospitality industry that they stand with the thousands of hardworking hotel workers whose labor has built our prosperous tourist economy.  Today marks the moment when this so-called economic recovery pivots from CEO greed to worker needs.  We are at long last on the road to rebuild an economy rooted in fairness and dignity. ” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11.

While much of the ordinance law mirrors protections hotel workers have secured in Long Beach, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Glendale, the Los Angeles law also breaks new ground in the region by requiring automatic daily room cleaning of hotel rooms.  A final hearing on the ordinance is scheduled next week.

UNITE HERE Local 11 Housekeepers Submit 100k Signatures on Groundbreaking Initiative to City of Los Angeles

Initiative would follow lead of neighboring cities to mandate panic buttons  and raise minimum wage for hotel workers

Los Angeles – Over one hundred housekeepers and other hospitality workers today turned in the petitions they have collected since late January to qualify their initiative for the November 2022 ballot. The initiative mirrors protections they have secured in Long Beach, Santa Monica and most recently West Hollywood.

“I am one of thousands of housekeepers in Los Angeles who will finally have panic buttons and other protections on the job”, said Martha Moran, a laid off housekeeper from the storied Chateau Marmont. “My coworkers and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and to receive fair compensation for the work we do. This initiative provides those things.”

Over one hundred thousand Angelenos have signed on to the measure that provides:

  • Panic buttons and other security measures to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and threatening conduct
  • Fair compensation for heavy workloads
  • Automatic daily room cleaning throughout the industry
  • Expansion of minimum wage law for hotel workers
    “My heart is always with the workers, like my mother, who worked her fingers to the bone,” said Councilman Kevin De Leon. “The hard-working immigrant women and men who make up the hospitality industry in our city are the backbone of our economy and I’m proud to stand with them today as they submit their historic initiative petition. I’m ready to work with my colleagues on the L.A. City Council to transform this initiative into law. The people have spoken, and it’s our job to listen.”

“Even though I don’t work at a hotel, I understand that raising the standards for some of the lowest paid workers in the hospitality industry will bring up standards for all of us,” said Isha Kallay, food server from the Hollywood Park and Casino. “I wanted to collect signatures for this initiative because we need to stick together in order for all of us to get ahead.”

The housekeeping measure comes in response to the hotel industry’s attempt to cut labor costs and increase workloads by eliminating daily room cleaning during the pandemic. It also provides vital protections against sexual assault for housekeepers when cleaning guest rooms alone. The workers call on the Los Angeles City Council to outright adopt the law.

“The hotel industry has wanted to get rid of daily room cleaning for years, and the pandemic gave them the perfect excuse,” notes Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Angelenos have just shown the industry, led by the Chateau Marmont, that they see through the greedy pandemic profiteering tactics and stand with the housekeepers. I am hopeful that the Los Angeles City Council will do the same and outright adopt the ordinance. Los Angeles is a leading tourist destination; that should mean good jobs for Angelenos.”

Watch the entire press conference here
View more photos here

LA Times Podcast: Hotel housekeeping is dirtier than ever

Cristina Velasquez, a housekeeper at Hilton Garden Inn in Los Angeles, says that since the pandemic started, she has had to clean three to four days’ worth of trash, dirty linens and towels in the same amount of time as before. Click here to listen to the LA TImes Podcast.