UNITE HERE Local 11 represents the hospitality workers in many of the iconic hotels in LA, Orange County, and Phoenix, Arizona. We represent the housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, servers, bartenders, and front desk agents that make your stay at these hotels so memorable. Be sure to always stay in a union hotel. And when you leave, don’t forget to tip your housekeeper!

 

VOTE YES FOR THE STRIKE

On June 8, 2023 thousands of Local 11 members will vote to authorize a strike for better wages, affordable housing, a better pension, healthcare, and fair workloads. Sí se puede!

Tourism Workers Rising Coalition to Partner with LA City Council to Raise Wage to $25 In Effort to Ensure Angelenos are Healthy and Housed

Los Angeles, CA – Tourism workers, the unions representing them – SEIU United Service Workers West and UNITE HERE Local 11 – and LA City Councilmember Curren Price are leading efforts to raise wages to be commensurate with a world-class tourism economy and world-class city. The proposed ordinance introduced by Price on April 12 would raise the wage for tourism workers to $25 an hour in 2023 with plans to increase their pay to $30 by 2028.

“The living wage movement is a social justice movement where here in Los Angeles nearly 9 out 10 tourism workers are people of color,” said Councilmember Price, describing the urgent need for the new measure. “It’s appalling to think that while the tourism industry has its future growth secured, the workers that keep this major economic engine functioning, safe and profitable are fighting to keep a roof over their heads. I’m honored to lead this fight at City Hall and continue to work with the Tourism Workers Rising campaign so that no workers are left behind.”

Los Angeles is assuring future growth for the industry as it gears up to host global events like the 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Olympics. Meanwhile, wages aren’t enough to keep tourism workers housed, as Los Angeles grapples with an unprecedented housing crisis.

“LA’s tourism industry thrives on the hard work of its employees. But right now, minimum wage workers must work over 100 hours a week just to afford an apartment in LA,” Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky co-presented the ordinance. “It’s time to raise the wage and make sure that the people who make Los Angeles a world-class destination can actually afford to live here.”

Over 100 tourism workers and coalition partners joined Councilmember Price for a press conference before he introduced the motion to the Council.

“My rent is going up to $1,400, and I care for my adult son with schizophrenia. I’m worried because I don’t want to end up on the street like so many others in the city,” said Graciela Gomez, member of UNITE HERE Local 11 and housekeeper at the Four Points Sheraton LAX for 23 years

Many of the working people who are the foundation of L.A.’s tourism economy, working in L.A. hotels and at LAX, are struggling to survive on the city’s current living wage, facing housing and food insecurity, or are forced to work two jobs.

“A $25 minimum wage would mean we do not have to live paycheck to paycheck. We would be able to afford reliable transportation to and from work and pay our utility bills in full instead of little by little,” said Gary Duplessis, cook at Flying Food Group for six years.

“Hospitality workers who make the beds, cook the food, wash the dishes, and cater to the millions of guests that travel to Los Angeles will also be the ones who make FIFA in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028 successful. Yet, while we prepare to host the events that will showcase our city, we cannot forget about workers like Graciela, Gary, and all tourism workers across the city who deserve to make an Olympic wage to stay healthy and housed.” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11.

“The status quo at LAX is broken. The aviation industry receives billions in taxpayer dollars – including $54 billion of pandemic relief to big airlines and billions more in public funding for airports,” said SEIU United Service Workers West President David Huerta. “LAX is set to receive billions in investments to prepare for the World Cup and the Olympics. While corporate CEOs and airline executives are reporting record revenues, yet the very workers – mostly Black, Brown, and immigrant workers– who make their profits possible can’t afford to pay rent, pay for healthcare, and are forced to work two or more jobs to make ends meet. The City of LA can and must do better. We’re excited to launch the Tourism Workers Rising campaign to improve the working conditions at LAX so that all airport workers and their families have access to affordable healthcare and wages that allow them to thrive.”

“I struggle because it’s not easy working at LAX. Not only do I deal with health issues, my son does as well. In order to make ends meet and pay my rent, I work side jobs and I’m a cosmetologist in addition to working at LAX. All of that means sacrificing time with my son. LAX continues to grow, make money and receive billions of dollars in investments but workers struggle. When airlines received billions of dollars in bailouts, workers like me got a bailout in the form of hand sanitizer and a mask. We’re fed up, and we’re standing together to say it’s time to raise the living wage. It’s time for workers to matter,” said Jovan Houston, SEIU USWW Executive Board member and LAX customer service agent.

“As airport workers, we are exposed to threats on a daily basis – threats to our health, to our safety. We put our lives at risk every day in order to make LAX work. Yet, it has become increasingly harder for workers to make the rent, pay utilities or even buy basic necessities because our salaries remain stagnant. For decades, airlines have abused their influence to manipulate the system and prevent the progress workers need. Now, with the support of city councilmembers, we can fight for workers and raise the living wage,” said Oscar Antonio, SEIU USWW Executive Board member and LAX security officer.

Former Loews Hotel staff to be re-hired by Regent

THE RENT IN LA IS TOO! DAMN! HIGH!

Over a thousand room attendants, cooks and servers with tools of their trade–beds, bell carts, mops–marched in downtown LA today asking the hotel executives attending the American Lodging Investment Summit, “the largest hotel investment conference in the world,” to step up and help solve the region’s housing crisis.

Responsible Hotels Ordinance

 

The Responsible Hotels Ordinance will help address the affordable housing crisis by:
  • Ensuring hotel developments do not displace affordable housing
  • Establishing a program similar to the successful Project Roomkey to provide temporary lodging for unhoused families and individuals.
  • Read the full  text of the Responsible Hotel Ordinance.

Spread the Word

Only 23 to 34 percent of Paycheck Protection Program dollars went directly to workers who would otherwise have lost jobs, according to an analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research. See also “PPP In Name Only.” 

UNITE HERE Local 11 Hospitality Workers Call on ALIS Conference Hotel Executives to Help Solve Housing Crisis

Demand Endorsement of Responsible Hotel Ordinance & Higher Wages to Afford Rent

Los Angeles: Over a thousand room attendants, cooks and servers with tools of their trade–beds, bell carts, mops–marched in downtown LA today asking the hotel executives attending the American Lodging Investment Summit, “the largest hotel investment conference in the world,” to step up and help solve the region’s housing crisis.

“I live in Apple Valley with my husband, our two sons, and my mother. Los Angeles is in the middle of a housing crisis and the hotel industry is perpetuating the decrease in affordable housing. Even with 5 people in one household, I cannot afford to live closer to the JW Marriott L.A Live where I work. I sometimes only sleep 2-3 hours a night. This is no way to live.” said Brenda Mendoza, uniform attendant of 15 years.

“Although I welcome guests arriving into LAX every day, I cannot afford to live in Los Angeles. After my apartment building was brought up, my rent went from $925 to $1325 overnight. I have seen how so many senior citizens became homeless because they could not keep up with the rising cost of rent.  I am barely hanging on.” said Eleanor Ramos, bartender at LAX for 26 years.

“I have to work two full time jobs and the only place I could afford a home in was California City. I sleep in my car in between jobs.  How can anyone achieve the American dream if this is what it costs?” said Leticia, a housekeeper at the Glendale Hilton for 22 years.

UNITE HERE Local 11 contended that the hotel industry’s historically poverty wage jobs and its irresponsible hotel development, which does not prioritize housing concerns, contribute to working Angelenos’ inability to afford to live in Los Angeles.

“At the investment conference thousands of hotel executives are celebrating record profits because they are making more money than they were before the pandemic.  Meanwhile the workers who make the industry prosperous have to live two hours away because they cannot afford to live where they work. The industry needs to help solve the housing crisis by paying a living wage and endorsing the Responsible Hotel ordinance.” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11.

The workers also demanded that these hotel executives endorse the Responsible Hotel Ordinance and commit to increase hospitality worker wages. UNITE HERE Local 11 members collected a record 126,000 signatures from LA residents to place the Responsible Hotel Ordinance on the March 2024 ballot. The ordinance would require that housing concerns must be addressed in hotel development and creates a program similar to Project Roomkey to place unhoused families in vacant hotel rooms.

The protesters also called on the hotel industry to raise wages so that working families can reside in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Hotel Minimum Wage is $18.86 an hour which means that a hotel worker would have to work 17 hours a day to afford a 2 bedroom apartment.

The protest follows Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declaring a state of emergency on homelessness.

“Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Los Angeles, and it’s one of the most profitable. Yet the workers who make that industry thrive face housing insecurity and rapidly increasing rents.  For too many, the dream of affording a home in the city where they work is completely out of reach. Some of these workers are even unhoused. This must change — and the hospitality industry can join us to be a part of the solution.” said Hugo Soto-Martinez, Los Angeles City Councilmember District 13.

Rent’s Too High?

Wage needed to afford a 2-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. See also the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Minimum Wage chart.

Hotels rooms under construction per “Hospitality Market Report – Los Angeles” prepared by Elyse Kirby for STR, accessed January 4, 2023 [login required]. See also affordable housing units approved by the City of Los Angeles.