BOYCOTT CHATEAU MARMONT
In March 2020, the famed Chateau Marmont fired virtually its entire workforce. Workers who dedicated decades of their lives to the hotel were left without job security or affordable healthcare in the middle of the pandemic. In response, the Chateau workers successfully organized to help win a path-breaking city law to ensure that hospitality workers can to return to their jobs as the crisis subsides without fear of favoritism or discrimination. Many of the hotel’s workers have since spoken out about abuses they experienced working at the hotel, including disrespect, mistreatment, and a racially stratified workplace. Please see the articles below for more information.
Now the Chateau Marmont’s workers are asking for your support.
PLEASE SIGN THE BOYCOTT PLEDGE :
By signing this pledge, I vow to only return to the Chateau Marmont when the hotel has demonstrated a commitment to respecting its workers’ years of service by rehiring them in accordance with their legal rights and to ensuring that all workers–regardless of their race, sex, or background–feel treated with dignity and respect.
Why Thommi Gross is speaking up to end forced arbitration.
Press Release: 01/10/2021
Chateau Marmont Unlawfully Surveilled Its Laid-Off Workers at Protests, Finds Federal Labor Board Investigation
As Hotel Agrees to a Settlement, Workers File Second Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against Hollywood Hotel
Los Angeles, CA. Following an investigation of an unfair labor practice charge, a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has required the Chateau Marmont to commit to refraining from interfering with workers’ right to organize a union as part of a settlement agreement.
In July 2021, UNITE HERE Local 11, the union supporting laid-off Chateau Marmont workers, filed the charge with NLRB Region 31, alleging that multiple managers and other personnel of the hotel, including Managing Director Amanda Grandinetti, unlawfully filmed and photographed the lawful demonstrations of laid-off workers.
“I gave 33 years of my life to the Chateau Marmont and never once did I feel seen or heard. Yet the moment my coworkers and I began to speak out, the hotel started watching us. I am glad that the federal government has sided with us and recognized our rights to organize,” said housekeeper Martha Moran.
After interviewing workers and reviewing witnesses’ photographs and videos, among other steps, the Los Angeles office of the NLRB found evidence to support the workers’ charge. Avoiding a formal complaint and hearing, the company entered into a settlement requiring that the Chateau Marmont commit to respect workers’ federal labor rights and refrain from engaging in unlawful surveillance or other acts that interfere with workers’ rights.
On the heels of the settlement, the union has filed another charge with the NLRB, alleging the hotel has recently committed several more violations of federal labor law in response to its workers’ ongoing organizing efforts, including unlawfully questioning a worker about her union sympathies and unlawfully soliciting worker grievances.
Background: The Chateau Marmont has been embroiled in controversy amid two lawsuits by black women workers alleging harrasment and discrimination and a growing boycott backed by Aaron Sorkin, Alfonso Cuaron, Gabrielle Union, Issa Rae, Jane Fonda, and productions like Being the Ricardos and The Offer.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference echoes the call to boycott “Hollywood’s Playground”
Los Angeles: During this holiday season and in this time of waiting, workers, civil rights leaders, and community allies hosted a candlelight vigil to continue the call for jobs and racial justice at the Chateau Marmont.
The vigil follows an event in August, where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference hosted a discussion about racial equity in the hospitality industry. Today, SCLC delivered a letter in support of the workers in their struggle for justice.
“We have heard alarming allegations concerning practices at your establishment. As a Black-led organization that follows in the tradition of Dr. King, we stand with all of our Black brothers and sisters as they seek justice.” said Pastor William D. Smart, Jr. President and CEO, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California.
Amidst carolers and holding candles, vigilers shed light on the experiences of Black and brown workers at the Chateau Marmont, including the stories of Thommi Gross and April Blackwell, two black women who filed lawsuits earlier this year alleging that they experienced discrimination and harassment while working at the famous hotel. Both women’s lawsuits have been moved into private arbitration, a secret court system that disproportionately affects women of color.
“As I allege in my lawsuit, the Chateau Marmont let guests call me names, even threaten me with violence, and they didn’t take any accountability when we complained or try to fix the problem. As a Black woman working overnight at the front desk, I felt that guests treated me much worse than they would treat a white person.” said April Blackwell, former night auditor at the Chateau Marmont. “I am here speaking out today because I want accountability for how I was treated. The Chateau needs to know that all of their workers deserve to be safe at work, regardless of their race and gender.”
Supporters also honored the stories of veteran latino workers Jesus Moreno and Martha Moran, who each filed state recall complaints alleging the Chateau Marmont failed to bring them back in order of seniority, as SB-93 requires. In late November, former gardener Jesus Moreno also submitted a letter to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging that shortly after the pandemic layoffs, the Chateau rehired a less-experienced gardener who was white, significantly younger, and born in the U.S.–and that Moreno was discriminated against in rehiring at least in part because of his race, national origin, and age.
SCLC also announced it is boycotting the famed hotel, joining celebrities like Issa Rae, Gabrielle Union, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, until workers are brought back in accordance with their legal rights and treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
Chateau Marmont workers were joined by Southern Christian Leadership Conference, CLUE, Creating Justice LA, Black & Brown Clergy Committee, UNITE HERE Local 11 and others.
“Hollywood’s playground should not be at workers’ expense.” said Pastor Cue of the Church Without Walls and Faith Rooted organizer with CLUE.”
“We demand justice for Chateau Marmont workers, and we will not eat, sleep, gather, film, or use any of these premises until the workers are treated with dignity and respect.” said Pastor Gary Williams, Co-Chair of Board of Directors of CLUE
Click here to view the SCLC Letter to Chateau Marmont.
Entities tied to Chateau and Hilton operator Westmont Hospitality Group received millions in federal PPP money intended to bring back workers
LOS ANGELES–Joined by State Senator Maria Elena Durazo and allies, veteran Latinx workers from Hollywood’s famous Chateau Marmont rallied and presented legal complaints yesterday alleging that their employer violated SB-93, the state return-to-work law, by failing to rehire them in order of their seniority and, in one case, that the Chateau Marmont also violated California anti-discrimination law.
Another worker who worked as a housekeeping inspector at the Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites for almost 30 years also filed a SB-93 complaint yesterday against the operator of her hotel, Westmont Hospitality Group.
Before they were laid off at the start of the pandemic, alongside more than 200 of their coworkers, Martha Moran worked as a housekeeper for more than 33 years and Jesus Moreno worked as a gardener for nearly 20 years at the Chateau Marmont. Yet they both allege that since SB-93 went into effect, Chateau Marmont has unlawfully contracted out room cleaning and gardening work to brand-new agency workers without first offering Moran or Moreno those open positions, as the new state law requires. Of the 50 workers with the longest tenures at Chateau Marmont prior to the layoffs, approximately 46 were Latinx.
“In February, Chateau managers called me to a meeting and told me I was going back to work in a few weeks. But nothing happened. Two weeks ago, Chateau managers called me for another meeting and again they told me I would be going back to work in a few weeks. But I have no reason to believe them this time. I feel like management at Chateau Marmont aren’t respecting my seniority or my humanity, and I say it’s unfair,” said Moran, who had worked as a housekeeper at Chateau Marmont since 1986.
In a letter to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, veteran Chateau Marmont employee Jesus Moreno alleged that shortly after the pandemic layoffs, the hotel rehired a less experienced gardener who was white, U.S.-born, and significantly younger than Moreno, who is a 58-year-old Latino man from Mexico. Moreno alleges that he was discriminated against in rehiring at least in part because of his race, national origin, and age.
“Latinos like Martha and me have the most seniority in almost every department in the hotel, but most of us still haven’t been called us back to our jobs,” said Moreno. “We’ve worked here longer than almost everyone, and we deserve to be respected.”
Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites worker Elba Hernandez also filed a claim yesterday under SB-93. She alleges that she lost wages and benefits because the hotel failed to offer her positions for which she was qualified and had the most seniority. Instead, she claims the hotel hired an employee with no prior experience there to perform her work. While Hernandez has returned to work part-time, the company has still not returned her to the full-time position inspecting rooms she previously performed for nearly three decades.
Entities tied to both Chateau Marmont and Hilton Santa Monica have received millions from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, a program intended to help small businesses retain workers. Chateau Marmont received a $1.95 million PPP loan in February 2021, while affiliates of Westmont Hospitality Group received $34 million from the PPP. UNITE HERE Local 11 has asked the Small Business Administration to investigate whether these funds have been spent on payroll costs as intended by Congress, and whether Westmont exceeded the SBA’s PPP limit of $20 million per corporate group.
In April 2021, Senator Maria Elena Durazo led the state Senate and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and Assemblyman Ash Kalra led the Assembly to pass SB-93 to protect the jobs of hospitality workers who were laid off during the pandemic. The law aims to protect some of the most veteran and vulnerable workers of color in the hospitality and building services industries by establishing a legal right to return to jobs that many have held for years. As a result of the law, more than 700,000 hotel, event center, airport concession, and building services workers in California now have the right to return to their jobs as the pandemic subsides.
“When we passed SB-93 earlier this year, experiences like what Jesus and Martha describe were central to the legislative debate,” said Senator Maria Elena Durazo (SD 24) standing with the workers outside the Chateau Marmont along with student and community allies, Reverend Walter Contreras of the Black-Brown Clergy Committee, and Reverend Gary Williams of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and a board member of CLUE, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. “Now, laid-off workers have the right to return to their pre-pandemic jobs and we expect this hotel—and every affected employer in the state—to respect that right. I am proud to join these brave workers standing up to demand that SB-93 is followed and enforced.”
U.S Senator Alex Padilla Announces Support for Workers Boycotting Chateau Marmont
Hollywood Hotel Faces Lawsuits Alleging Sexual Harassment and Race Discrimination by Former Employees
Los Angeles, CA: U.S Senator Alex Padilla (CA) has become the first United States Senator to announce his support for the workers behind the growing boycott of the famed Chateau Marmont.
“As the son of a cook and UNITE HERE Local 11 member, I witnessed firsthand how hard my parents had to work to get ahead. Hospitality workers like those at the Chateau Marmont are the backbone of our state’s economy. I stand alongside the workers as they fight for the dignity and respect they deserve,” said U.S Senator Alex Padilla.
The boycott was launched by workers, UNITE HERE Local 11 and community allies. The boycott calls on the hotel to demonstrate a commitment to respecting workers’ years of service by rehiring them in accordance with their legal rights and ensuring that all workers—regardless of their race, sex, or background—feel treated with dignity and respect. In May, the California Democratic Party voted to boycott the Chateau Marmont at their annual convention.
After the Chateau Marmont fired over 200 workers in March 2020 because of the pandemic, multiple workers came forward to share experiences of mistreatment, abuse, and a racially stratified workplace.
“As a Latino cook in the back of the house I felt like it was nearly impossible for me or my coworkers to aspire to higher-paid positions. The better paid positions usually went to people that did not look like me.” said Pedro Diaz, cook for 16 years at the Chateau Marmont. “I felt invisible.”
Former workers Thomasina Gross and April Blackwell, both African American women, have spoken out and filed discrimination lawsuits against the Chateau Marmont. The company has since forced their cases into a secretive private arbitration system. They have called on the company to allow their cases to proceed in the public court system and more broadly called for a more fair and equitable workplace.
“I want hotel management to understand that it’s not acceptable to let their workers be harassed and threatened by guests,” said April Blackwell, former night auditor.
The boycott has also garnered support from those in Hollywood like Jane Fonda, Aaron Sorkin, and Spike Lee. In late August, Paramount Plus pulled filming of its miniseries The Offer to stand with workers and most recently multiple Emmy-nominees Issa Rae, Robin Thede, and Samira Wiley also pledged to boycott.
Series starring Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, Justin Chambers and Colin Hanks is second film shoot this year to cancel business with controversial hotel
Los Angeles, CA: Paramount Plus’s miniseries The Offer, inspired by the making of The Godfather, has pulled a film shoot from the Chateau Marmont in response to the escalating boycott of the hotel.
According to sources, the series starring Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, Justin Chambers and Colin Hanks was scheduled to film at the Chateau Marmont on August 25-27, but the shoot was cancelled after the production learned of the labor dispute.
The miniseries is the second production this year to choose to stand with the workers and honor the boycott. In April Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos pulled out from the film at the Chateau Marmont. Other boycott signatories include Jane Fonda, Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Sheen, Matthew Weiner, Steven Van Zandt and Spike Lee.
The boycott campaign is calling on the hotel to demonstrate a commitment to respecting its workers’ years of service by rehiring them in accordance with their legal rights and to ensuring that all workers–regardless of their race, sex, or background–feel treated with dignity and respect. It was launched in February 2021 by former Chateau Marmont workers, UNITE HERE Local 11, and community allies.
In March of 2020, the hotel fired over 200 of its workers, leaving them without job security or affordable healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, workers have spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, including issues of disrespect, mistreatment, and a racially stratified workplace. Earlier this year, two black women workers, Thommi Gross and April Blackwell, filed pending lawsuits alleging they experienced racial discrimination while working at the Chateau Marmont.
“We applaud Paramount Plus’s decision to honor the boycott of the Chateau Marmont. We thank all the Hollywood unions — SAG AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters. WGA and DGA — for supporting these courageous workers who have spoken out for dignity and respect,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the union supporting the Chateau Marmont workers.
“Worker solidarity extends across all Industries. An injury to one is an injury to all. As we see the workers at Chateau Marmont fighting for dignity, respect and safety in the workplace, we will continue to encourage Hollywood productions and our members to honor the current boycott. We stand in solidarity with all current and past employees of the Chateau Marmont.” said Lindsay Dougherty, Recording Secretary & Organizer Teamsters Local 399 .
This Wednesday, August 25, as part of the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) plans to hold a conversation about racial equity in the hospitality industry outside of the Chateau Marmont.
Writers Guild of America West Joins Call for Boycott of Famed Chateau Marmont
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Writers Guild of America West, the union representing over 10,000 writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and internet programming, has joined the growing boycott of the Chateau Marmont.
“We believe it should be a given that every member of our community be afforded the respect and job security they deserve,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman, “which is why the Writers Guild of America West stands in solidarity with the workers at the Chateau Marmont, and their fight for a fair workplace.”
The boycott was first launched by laid-off Chateau Marmont workers asking to be rehired in accordance with their legal rights and to be treated with respect. They boycott has won the support of Hollywood leaders like Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and others.
“We are grateful for the Writers Guild of America’s solidarity for the Chateau Marmont workers,” said UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen. “All workers—from those who write inspiring and entertaining stories for film and television to those who have built and sustain our tourism industry—deserve workplaces where they are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their race, sex, and background. The Guild’s stand moves the Chateau Marmont workers one step closer.”
The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing over 10,000 writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and internet programming.