Over the Labor Day weekend, workers across the region were shown immense solidarity. At the Fairmont Santa Monica, striking workers learned that the Inter Miami CF and Lionel Messi were slated to stay at the hotel for a game this Sunday against LAFC. Striking workers then asked Messi and the team to siupport the boycott and cancel their stay at the hotel, which was a site of violence against workers several weeks ago.
Meanwhile hotel workers at the W Hollywood on strike celebrated Labor Day with drumming, picketing, chanting, and were even joined for an impromptu jam by the famed Los Jornaleros del Norte band outside the Hollywood hot spot.
Throughout Labor Day weekend 19 hotels and concession workers at the Ontario Airport haver been on strike, fighting for wages that will keep up with the rising cost of housing. Thousands of workers at over 46 properties have struck since July 1.
Los Angeles: Areas at LAX employs cashiers, dishwashers, cooks, bartenders, and food attendants at concessions concepts, such as Homeboy Bakery, Dunkin Donuts, Urth Cafe, California Pizza Kitchen, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Ford’s in all terminals, including the Tom Bradley International terminal.
“My entire family works for AREAS USA–myself, my sister, my brother, and my mom. None of us make enough money to survive,” said Cecilia Otea, barista at Urth Bar. “All of us have to work and live together to afford living in LA. I’m voting yes to strike so my entire family can have a better life.”
Workers’ collective bargaining agreement with Areas expired on June 30th, 2022. Their primary contract demands include livable wages to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing, a pension to retire with dignity, and fair staffing.
During the pandemic, airport concessionaires received over $1 billion in federal relief and cut staffing. While the industry has more than recovered, workers struggle to afford a place to live near where they work. Airport workers live as far away as Lancaster, California City, and Bakersfield.
Workers could walk out any day starting Labor Day weekend, joining thousands of hotel workers, also represented by UNITE HERE Local 11, who have engaged in a wave of strikes since the 4th of July weekend.
“Workers all over the city have reached their breaking point,” said Susan Minato, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “The travel and tourism industry exploited the pandemic and continues to rake in profits while their workers, the ones who actually make all this possible, are left living paycheck to paycheck, one emergency away from homelessness. It’s time the industry pays workers their fair share and if workers have to strike to make that happen, they will.”
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.
Los Angeles: Today, thousands of UNITE HERE Local 11 hotel workers at multiple properties walked out on strike fighting for wages to keep up with the rising cost of housing and a new contract.
The strike comes as the citywide convention of the American Political Science Association (APSA) begins on Wednesday in Los Angeles. Hundreds of APSA members have canceled their plans to attend after APSA leadership defied requests by hotel workers to cancel the event.
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 APSA members, SEIU Local 99, AFSCME Local 3299, and others.
“As a mother I often have to choose between paying for my rent and buying groceries. The solution is simple, hotels need to agree to the wages that we need to stay housed. Until then, we will continue to call on all groups and conventions coming to Los Angeles to boycott,” said Delmy Cabañas, Housekeeper at the JW Marriott L.A LIVE.
“Strikes and disruption will be the norm at LA hotels until the industry pays its workers a living wage. We are saddened that APSA leadership sided with greedy hotel corporations over the call of workers for a living wage. We applaud those political science professors who stayed away from LA. Those professors who came to LA will reside in, to borrow the hotel industry’s new slogan, ‘Hotel Hell.’ Dirty rooms and non stop noise will be the only amenities,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11.
Los Angeles: Today, UNITE HERE Local 11 members, along with representatives from future citywide conventions and events, announced a boycott of Los Angeles, until the hotel industry pays a living wage and puts an end to violence against its striking members. The workers’ call for conventions to stay away from Los Angeles marks a major escalation in the largest hotel worker strike in U.S. history.
In a statement of support, Kathryn Lybarger President AFSCME 3299 said, “AFSCME 3299 stands in solidarity with the brave workers of UNITE HERE Local 11 and their struggle for justice and ability to live and thrive in the Los Angeles economy they helped build. Until the workers win the fair settlement they are fighting for, AFSCME 3299 will honor their boycott and picket lines. We commit to not spend a dime of our members’ money in any boycotted Los Angeles hotel or business. Our money will however be going towards supporting striking workers. Today we donate $25,000 and pledge to do all we can to stand with them until they win. Their struggle is our struggle.
“We moved our event twice, to stand with hotel workers. We call on our nonprofit and for-profit friends. Move your conferences, and gatherings to places that value hospitality workers, their servers, their housekeepers – move your events or boycott LA!” said Ana Grande, Executive Director of the Program for Torture Victims.
“SEIU Local 99 members are proud to support the boycott of hotels that disrespect workers. Our union canceled business with Hotel Maya this summer. At our urging, the LAUSD school board also agreed not to do business with hotels that have active labor disputes. Instead of responding with violence and threats, hotel corporations need to know that when workers are under attack – we fight back on the picket line and with our pocketbooks,” said Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99.
“I am fighting to keep a roof over my head. Right now 80% of my income goes toward rent for my studio apartment. My wages are not keeping up with the high cost of living. That is why we call on all upcoming conventions to boycott Los Angeles until we get the wages we deserve.” said Cristina Betancourt, housekeeper at the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott LA LIVE.
Already, the hotel strikes have caused many groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, the Japanese American Citizens League, and The Council of State Governments West to relocate, suspend or cancel their events. Hundreds of members of the American Political Science Association (APSA), who has a 6,000-person convention set in Los Angeles on Labor Day weekend, have canceled their plans to attend after APSA leadership defied request by hotel workers to cancel the event.
“Many political science professors have already pledged to not attend the APSA convention Labor Day weekend. I call on all academic organizations including APSA, to protect the integrity of their organization and to stand with hotel workers. Honor their boycott,” said Peter Dreier, longtime member of the American Political Science Association.
Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11 said, “For those who are deciding on whether to hold your event in LA including FIFA and the Olympics, the choice is clear. On one side, there is the boundless greed and violent conduct of rapacious corporations. On the other side, there is the sacrifice, solidarity and courage of these workers fighting for a living wage. Which side are you on?”
Workers have demanded an immediate $5 an hour raise so that they can afford to live in the city where they work. The industry walked away from the bargaining table a month ago and has used and hotels have been accused of inciting or condoning violence against striking workers. Earlier this month, the union filed federal labor charges against the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, Hotel Maya in Long Beach and the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point alleging hotel management committed or condoned violence against their own employees while they have been on strike and picketing.
Los Angeles is arguably the world’s epicenter of tourism. No other city has ever hosted the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics back to back, as Los Angeles is set to do in 2026 and 2028, respectively. Local 11 will ask all future groups, including FIFA and the Olympics, to boycott the city to support their demands.
Broad labor movement support raises possibility of prolonged conflict
Los Angeles – California unions announced their pledge of financial support for hotel workers who have been leading the largest wave of hotel strikes in modern history. Collectively, the unions pledging support represent 2.1 million workers.
“At this moment when workers of practically every industry are coming together to take a stand, we as union leaders can do no less,” said Yvonne Wheeler, the President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “I am proud that our union sisters and brothers have come together to pool our resources to back each other up.”
The coalition of unions includes the California Federation of Labor, California Teachers Association, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, UFCW 770, UFCW Local 324, SEIU USWW, California State Firefighters’ Association, and IBEW Local 11. All of them have pledged the following:
“We will back UNITE HERE Local 11’s strikes financially and otherwise until they win. Securing living wages and financial security for working people remains forever and always our number one priority. When we fight together, we win for everyone.”
Lorena Fletcher Gonzalez, the Executive Secretary Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, stated: “The labor movement membership in California is one of the largest in the world, and when we stand together we can match the strength and resources of any corporation. This is how we win strikes – through the power of our solidarity.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen praised the move, stating: “We hear from the hotel companies that they think striking workers will have to cave because they don’t have the same financial resources as the multi-billion dollar companies who are enjoying record profits. The pledge to back us up takes that power away from them. The bosses always underestimate the power of their workers and the labor movement.”