Hotel Housekeepers Ask Taylor Swift to Postpone L.A. Eras Tour Unless Hotels Pay a Living Wage

Los Angeles, CA: A week before her Eras Tour hits Los Angeles, dozens of hotel housekeepers published an open letter to Taylor Swift in the Los Angeles Times, asking her to support their fight for a wage that allows them to live in the city where they work. Hotels are expected to reap enormous profits from the “Swift Lift,” which has been compared to multiple consecutive Super Bowls in light of its economic benefits for the hospitality industry.

Housekeepers are asking Swift to postpone her six scheduled concerts in Los Angeles until they are paid a living wage. Earlier this week, Snoop Dogg canceled his upcoming concert at the Hollywood Bowl in solidarity with striking writers and actors.

The letter also points to some unexpected commonalities between hotel housekeepers and megastar Swift, comparing their fight against the hotel industry’s use of “junk fees”–extra charges that are tacked onto room rates that benefit companies, not workers–to Swift’s crusade against Ticketmaster adding junk fees to her fans’ concert tickets. As a staunch advocate for empowering women, Swift even shared the pages of TIME Magazine’s 2017 “Silence Breakers” issue with two hotel workers from Los Angeles who had also spoken out against sexual harassment.

Now, hotel housekeepers are asking for her support as they fight for a living wage. Hotel workers have reported having to sleep in their cars between shifts. Many struggle to stay housed. This plight is shared by thousands of hotel workers across 43 hotels in the L.A. area who have gone on strike in the past month for living wages, healthcare and a pension. So far, only the Westin Bonaventure has reached a tentative agreement with the Union to pay a living wage that will enable workers to afford to live in the city where they work.

The Federal Reserve has reported that Swift’s Eras Tour has significantly boosted the hospitality industry in nearly every city she has performed in, raising hotel room rates by orders of magnitude. Currently, Swift is set to perform at SoFi Stadium on August 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9.The ongoing hotel worker labor unrest in Los Angeles has caused groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, the Japanese American Citizens League, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Vanderpump Rules to cancel their events.

Beverly Hills Hotel Workers Strike, 3rd Wave Grows

Beverly Hills, CA: The 3rd wave of the nation’s largest hotel strike expands to Beverly Hills as more than 1,000 more cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out this morning.

Jovani Ramirez, a cook who works at both the Beverly Hilton and Fairmont Century Plaza and commutes from Santa Clarita said, “I am going on strike because I work two full time jobs to provide for my 4 children. I need free family healthcare because my youngest son is autistic.  It is morally wrong that I work 16 hours a day in our most prosperous industry but cannot afford to live in Los Angeles.”

“A room attendant at the Waldorf Astoria must work 60 hours to earn enough to pay for one night at this ritzy hotel,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local. 11.  “Yet the hotel’s last offer did not add one more penny for wages. Hilton could care less about whether their workers are able to afford to live in Los Angeles.”

Thousands of workers at 43 hotels have struck so far.   But only the Westin Bonaventure has reached a tentative agreement that includes a living wage that will enable workers to afford to live in the city where they work.

Last week, the hotel industry led by Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott, presented a new economic proposal that did not have one penny more for wages, pension or healthcare.

The ongoing labor unrest has caused groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, Japanese American Citizens League, W.K Kellogg Foundation and Vanderpump Rules to cancel their events.

The union’s bargaining committee sent a letter to the American Political Science Association requesting that the 6000 person organization cancel its Annual Meeting & Exhibition, which is set to take place on August 31 to September 3, 2022 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Third Wave of SoCal Hotel Strikes Hit Hollywood After Industry Proposes Not One Penny More

Southern California: After the hotel industry led by Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott, presented a new economic proposal that did not have one penny more for wages, pension or healthcare, thousands of cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out this morning as part of the largest multi-hotel strike in California history.

This is the third in a wave of strikes in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. So far, of the 60 properties with nearly 15,000 hotel workers whose contracts expired at the end of June, only the Westin Bonaventure has reached an agreement with UNITE HERE Local 11 that includes a living wage that will allow workers to afford to live in the city where they work.

The ongoing labor unrest has caused groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, Japanese American Citizens League, W.K Kellogg Foundation and Vanderpump Rules to cancel or move their events.

Yesterday, the bargaining committee sent a letter to the American Political Science Association requesting that the organization cancel its Annual Meeting & Exhibition, which is set to take place on August 31 to September 3, 2022 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  More than 6,000 political science professors are expected to attend this citywide conference.

Morena Hernandez, housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz said, “I have given decades of my life to this hotel and they have done nothing but take advantage of us. If they really valued our work, they would pay us what we needed to be able to live near where we work. Instead they insult us with their proposals.”

Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11 said, “Just when you thought it was not possible, the hotels hit a new low in greed and cruelty.  Their last proposal would make Ebenezer Scrooge envious and would result in a wave of evictions for hotel workers.  Not a penny more for wages, pension or healthcare.  Workers cannot afford to pay rent; meanwhile, a room at the Waldorf Astoria clocks in at $1400. Their greed has forced workers to walk out again to win a wage that allows them to live in LA.”

Picketing and Leafleting Continue as Hotel Workers Return to Work After Second Wave of Strikes

More hotel worker actions on the horizon as entertainment industry strike grows

Southern California: As labor strife consumes the region, thousands of hotel workers at 12 hotels in Los Angeles and Orange County return to work today.   

The pandemic destroyed the regions’ most important industries, tourism and entertainment, as most actors, writers, and hotel workers lost their jobs overnight. Meanwhile the employers profited from the pandemic by taking billions of dollars in subsidies and forcing workers to work more for less. Workers are rising up together to demand a living wage that allows them to live in the city in which they work.  

Negotiations resume on Tuesday, June 18th. More strikes and other actions by hotel workers could take place at any time. 

“Since reopening after the pandemic, hotels began to eliminate daily room cleaning. Our workloads have become brutal and take an even bigger toll on us,” says Rosa Paz, housekeeper for 23 years at the Hilton Anaheim. “We went on strike because we work really hard and deserve better. Through the strike workers from all the hotels are more united than ever. We are ready for anything, inside, outside, at the negotiating table, and won’t settle for less than we deserve.”

Yesenia Reyes, housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency LAX which is owned by the Southwest Carpenters Pension Trust, the pension fund of the Southwest Carpenters’ union says, “I feel more empowered now than ever to continue fighting for a good contract.” She continued, “As a single mom, I rarely get to see my six kids because I work two full time jobs to pay my $2,000 rent and keep up with other expenses.”

“Thousands of workers at 33 hotels from Downtown Los Angeles to LAX to Orange County have participated in the largest hotel worker strike in California history,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President UNITE HERE Local 11. “Our city has reached a tipping point. The wealthy continue to live in luxury while workers, from actors and writers to room attendants and servers, live from one paycheck to the next. This fight is ultimately about whether those who make LA prosperous and beautiful will be able to afford to live in LA.”

SoCal Hotel Strike Wave Moves to OC As More Walk Off The Job

Southern California: This morning, more cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out on the second wave of the largest multi-hotel strike in Southern California’s history.   

“I am on strike because I welcome hundreds of guests into Anaheim everyday, but I still cannot afford to retire or provide for my family, even though we know the industry is booming,” said Elizabeth Galindo, housekeeper at the Anaheim Hilton. “We are proud to join our sisters and brothers in Los Angeles on strike.”

Hotel workers across Orange County join thousands of hotel workers near LAX who walked out to demand better pay and working conditions on Monday. This marks the second wave of hotel strikes in the region this month. Workers at 21 hotels walked out 4th of July weekend in Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. So far, only the Westin Bonaventure has reached an agreement with UNITE HERE Local 11 that provides a living wage and vital benefits. 60 properties, covering nearly 15,000 hotel workers, are authorized to strike at any moment. 

“Hotel workers across Santa Monica, DTLA, LAX, to Beverly Hills, Anaheim, and Irvine are more united than ever to fight for a contract that allows them to live in the city where they work.  Tourism is booming. The region is investing billions in infrastructure. The workers who are the backbone of this industry must have a living wage,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

Second SoCal Hotel Strike Wave Hits in LAX Area as More Walk Off the Job 

Southern California: This morning, thousands more cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out on the second wave of the largest multi-hotel strike in Southern California’s history. 

“I am on strike because as a mom I will do anything to keep a roof over my kids’ heads. Rent is soaring but wages are not. The industry is booming. They need to share with us who make them prosperous,” said Lilia Sotelo Housekeeper at the  Sheraton Gateway 

The second wave of strikes came after thousands of hotel workers in 21 hotels struck for three days during the 4th of July weekend in Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. So far, of the 60 properties with nearly 15,000 hotel workers whose contracts expired at the end of June, only the Westin Bonaventure has reached an agreement with UNITE HERE Local 11 that provides a living wage and other benefits.  

“No worker should have to sleep in their car between shifts because they cannot afford to live in Los Angeles. Workers are striking because they believe that all workers in this city – whether you teach, write, act, or clean hotel rooms – deserve a wage that allows them to live with dignity in Los Angeles. The hotel industry is flush with cash. Room rates are soaring. The industry’s greed makes workers unable to live in the city where they work.” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

On June 8, hotel workers voted 96% in favor of authorizing a strike. The union is seeking to create a hospitality workforce housing fund, in addition to better wages, healthcare benefits, pension and safer workloads. In a UNITE HERE Local 11 survey, 53% of workers said that they either have moved in the past 5 years or will move in the near future because of soaring housing costs. Hotel workers report commuting hours from areas like Apple Valley, Palmdale, California City and Victorville. 

During the pandemic, hotels received $15 billion in federal bailouts and cut jobs and guest services such as daily room cleaning. In 2023, hotel profits in Los Angeles and Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels, yet hospitality workers continue to struggle to afford a place to live in the cities where they work.  

Southern California will be the first region ever to host back-to-back the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028. In recent decades, these mega sports events have left local governments indebted for years and have permanently displaced millions of poor residents. 

SoCal Travel Alert: Picket Lines to Pick Up As Strikers Return to Work After Holiday

On the eve of the Fourth of July, while hotel CEOs were toasting record profits at their vacation homes in the Hamptons, in a show of incomparable strength, thousands of cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents walked out in the largest hotel strike in Southern California history.

The mass walkout marks just the first wave of strikes and disruption by hotel workers across the region. Workers will not rest until they are paid a wage that allows them to live in the communities where they work. We know the industry can do this – last week, Los Angeles’ biggest hotel, the Westin Bonaventure, agreed to the wages workers need. Now it is time for the other corporations to follow suit. We are grateful for the extraordinary solidarity we have received. This is just the beginning.

“We went on strike to show these companies what we were willing to do to win a fair contract. As I get ready to return to work, I am proud to be part of the first wave of strikes, leading the way for the rest of our union to follow,” said Joy Johnson, a housekeeper of 5 years at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown LA.

Arturo Hueso, a houseman of 30 years at the Fairmont Miramar – Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica said, “Because of my cancer, I have no choice but to fight to keep my healthcare. I am prepared to fight on the picket line, inside the hotel – whatever it takes. This is a fight for my life.”

Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11, says, “This walkout was the first of many actions that may come this summer by workers at hotels across Southern California, and it is only one tool in our toolbox. We have put the industry on notice that the workers have suffered enough.”

BREAKING NEWS: SoCal Hotel Workers On Strike 

Southern California: This morning, thousands of cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out on the largest multi-hotel strike in the local’s history.

Jennifer Flores, Front Desk Supervisor at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown said “For 14 years I saw how my mother worked as a housekeeper and fought hard to raise me. I am striking because it is my turn to fight for a better future for me and my son.”

“Our members were devastated first by the pandemic, and now by the greed of their bosses,” says Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “The industry got bailouts while we got cuts. Now, the hotel negotiators decided to take a four-day holiday instead of negotiating. Shameful.”

The walkout comes after the biggest hotel in LA, the Westin Bonaventure, came to an agreement just a day before contracts expired.

On June 8, hotel workers voted 96% in favor of authorizing a strike. The union is seeking to create a hospitality workforce housing fund, in addition to better wages, healthcare benefits, pension and safer workloads. In a UNITE HERE Local 11 survey, 53% of workers said that they either have moved in the past 5 years or will move in the near future because of soaring housing costs. Hotel workers report commuting hours from areas like Apple Valley, Palmdale, California City and Victorville.

During the pandemic, hotels received $15 billion in federal bailouts and cut jobs and guest services such as daily room cleaning. In 2023, hotel profits in Los Angeles and Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels, yet hospitality workers continue to struggle to afford a place to live in the cities where they work.

Southern California will be the first city in modern history to host back-to-back the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028. In recent decades, these mega sports events have left local governments indebted for years and have permanently displaced millions of poor residents.

BREAKING NEWS: Westin Bonaventure First to Reach Deal As Historic Strike Looms for Dozens of SoCal Hotels

Los Angeles, CA: A day before contracts covering 15,000 hotel workers expire, the Westin Bonaventure hotel, Los Angeles’ largest hotel, reached a historic agreement with its workers.

“With these extraordinary raises, I will no longer have to choose between paying my rent and putting food on the table for my family,” said Nancy Cerrato, general clean public areas, housekeeping department. “We have given our lives to this industry. We deserve respect and to be able to afford to live in the city where we work.”

The Westin Bonaventure emerges as the leader in fair wages and benefits for its workers while dozens of hotels including the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton LA Live, Beverly Hilton, Fairmont Miramar, and Anaheim Hilton continue to drag their feet after months of negotiations.

A strike could be called as early as the 4th of July weekend for the remaining hotel properties across Southern California.

Once the contract is ratified, the 600 workers at the Bonaventure will enjoy:

  • Unprecedented wage increases to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing in Southern California
  • Affordable, excellent family healthcare
  • Humane and safe staffing that will return jobs and hours to pre-pandemic levels
  • Pension contribution 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.

“We applaud the Westin Bonaventure and Peter Zen for putting the 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 ensuring that workers who work in LA will be able to live in LA. Now the rest of the industry needs to step up. If they continue to be greedy and short-sighted, workers will strike.”

In Act of Nonviolent Protest Nearly 200 Hotel Workers Risk Arrest on Century Boulevard Following 96% Strike Authorization Vote

Los Angeles, CA:  Nearly 200 workers and community allies engaged in an act of mass nonviolent civil disobedience today, following an overwhelming strike authorization vote June on 8. Hundreds more room attendants, cooks, dishwashers, and community allies took to the streets to call for the wages required to afford housing in Los Angeles.

In a UNITE HERE Local 11 survey, 53% of workers said that they either have moved in the past 5 years or will move in the near future because of soaring housing costs. Hotel workers report commuting hours from areas like Apple Valley, Palmdale, California City and Victorville.

“I risked arrest for the future of my kids, my coworkers and myself. The companies have taken advantage of the pandemic to get richer, while we struggle to stay housed. I am fighting for that change, and ready to strike!” said Martha Esquivel, Holiday Inn LAX, laundry attendant.

The union is seeking to create a hospitality workforce housing fund, in addition to better wages, healthcare benefits, pension and safer workloads. Contracts expire June 30, and employers like Hyatt, IHG, Hilton and Marriott have failed to agree to anything close to the wages workers say they need to live with dignity in the cities where they work. The union could call for a strike at dozens of hotels with more than 15,000 workers as early as July 4th weekend.  This would be the largest hotel worker strike in modern US industry.

During the pandemic, hotels received $15 billion in federal bailouts and cut jobs and guest services such as daily room cleaning. In 2023, hotel profits in Los Angeles and Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels, yet hospitality workers continue to struggle to afford a place to live in the cities where they work.

Southern California will be the first city in modern history to host back-to-back the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028.  In recent decades, these mega sports events have left local governments indebted for years and have permanently displaced millions of poor residents.  UNITE HERE Local 11 is calling on the industry and political leadership to use the events to transform tourism jobs into family sustaining jobs and solve the housing crisis.

“In a show of strength and solidarity hundreds of workers were arrested for the right to live near where they work. Corporations have offered pennies, so today we risked arrest, and we are ready to go on strike to get the wage they deserve,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president UNITE HERE Local 11.

The last time hundreds of hotel workers risked arrest en masse on Century Blvd to demand better was in 2006.