PRESS INQUIRIES

For Press Inquiries:
Maria Hernandez, Communications
(623) 340-8047 (mobile)
mhernandez {at} unitehere11 {dot} org

For Arizona Press Inquiries:
Rachele Smith, Communications
(623) 670-9889 (mobile)
rsmith {at} unitehere11 {dot} org

Some of the following press releases have been shortened and edited to avoid redundancy.

U.S Senator Alex Padilla Announces Support for Workers Boycotting Chateau Marmont

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.

UNITE HERE Local 11 Statement on Recall Election Results

UNITE HERE Local 11 represents 32,000 workers in hotels, airports, restaurants, universities and stadiums across Southern California and Arizona. Our members called voters and knocked on their doors to inspire our community to vote NO on the anti-union, anti-woman, and anti-worker recall. These are the same housekeepers, dishwashers, and cooks who led the fight to turn Arizona and Georgia blue in 2020. Our members are committed to upholding our democracy and look forward to continuing to advocate for policies that will uplift all workers alongside Governor Newsom.  Si se puede!

 

UNITE HERE Local 11
Ada Briceño, co-president
Susan Minato, co-president
Kurt Petersen, co-president

LA City Attorney Candidates Reject Proposed Vacation Rental Ordinance, Challenge City to Enforce Existing Home Sharing Ordinance 

Amid housing crisis, LA City Council expected to vote on a loophole that would take 14,000 homes off the market and convert them into short-term rental units 

Los Angeles,  CA:  In an extraordinary show of unity around the issue of short-term rental regulation, most of the Los Angeles City Attorney candidates joined UNITE HERE Local 11, Better Neighbors Los Angeles, and Strategic Action for a Just Economy to call on the city to reject a proposed loophole – the Vacation Rental Ordinance – that would convert as many as 14,000 homes into short term rentals amid a growing housing crisis and make enforcement of the current Home Sharing Ordinance much more difficult.

 

“The existing Home Sharing Ordinance is not being enforced consistently, and the Vacation Rental Ordinance would exacerbate the problem. Loosening the rules to allow people to turn their second homes into de-facto hotels hurts our city’s hard working hotel workers who have spent years winning union health benefits, pensions and wages they deserve,” said Teddy Kapur, City Attorney candidate.

The City Attorney candidates warned that if the Vacation Rental loophole were to pass, it would profoundly complicate the already slow enforcement of short-term rental regulations that the current LA City Attorney and Planning staff have struggled to implement.  The loophole would create dire consequences for LA’s housing market with poor communities of color being the most affected. In a letter, Better Neighbors says the City estimates that between 6,000 to 10,000 housing units have been removed from the traditional rental market and converted by their owners to short-term rentals.  The loophole would remove thousands more and make enforcement of the existing Ordinance nearly impossible.

“The illegal conversion of rent-stabilized and affordable housing units into short-term rentals must stop.  Increased enforcement of the City’s Home Sharing Ordinance is the fastest way, and the least expensive way, to protect our affordable housing stock, to protect our most vulnerable renters from being pushed into homelessness, and to prevent harm to neighborhoods by commercial operators.  This proposed Vacation Rental Ordinance, unfortunately, will harm our ability to enforce the restrictions written into the City’s Home Sharing Ordinance because it will interfere with the two best enforcement tools we have — the requirement that short-term rentals must be a primary residence, and the prohibition of rent-stabilized units being listed as short-term rentals.  The Vacation Rental Ordinance could end up having the unintended result of actually accelerating our low-income and affordable housing crisis,” said Kevin James, who is running for LA City Attorney.

Los Angeles passed the Home Sharing Ordinance in 2018 to address an extreme shortage of affordable housing and the negative effects of short-term rentals on long-term housing markets. The Ordinance strictly limits home sharing to primary residences and requires “hosts” of short-term rentals to register for a permit. It also prohibits “host platforms” from processing bookings for listings without a valid City Home Sharing registration number.

“Accountability starts and ends with enforceability,” said Hydee Feldstein Soto, a candidate for Los Angeles City Attorney.  “The pending vacation and RSO ordinances make housing supply and especially rent stabilized units vulnerable to those who would skirt the law on short term rentals since enforcement becomes impractical if not impossible.”

The Vacation Rentals ordinance would blur the strongest enforcement line in the Home Sharing Ordinance – the primary residence requirement. If passed, it would allow commercial hosts to remove a second home from the housing market and convert it to a short-term rental.  The loophole would so complicate the investigation process as to make it nearly impossible for the City to determine if a short-term rental is listed illegally.  Because it is the responsibility of the Los Angeles City Attorney to enforce the City’s laws, these enforcement policy questions are an important element of the 2022 LA City Attorney election campaign.

“The Los Angeles City Attorney’s unwillingness to enforce the protections outlined in the Home Sharing Ordinance has left countless Angelenos vulnerable to displacement and homelessness. To make matters worse, the City’s proposed Vacation Rental Ordinance will only complicate regulating the short-term rental industry and further burden impacted communities. Affordable, accessible housing is a human right, and the City needs to focus on strengthening 一 not weakening 一 renter protection laws,” said Faisal Gill, LA City Attorney candidate.

BREAKING NEWS: Paramount Plus’s Miniseries The Offer Honors Boycott, Cancels Film Shoot at Chateau Marmont

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.

UNITE HERE Hospitality Workers Participate in Civil Disobedience at the U.S. Capitol to Combat Voter Suppression Laws with the Poor People’s Campaign

“This is about working people fighting to defend true democracy where all voices are heard.”

On August 2, days before the 56th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, UNITE HERE joined the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival national rally and march to combat voter suppression laws. More than 85 UNITE HERE members joined hundreds of allies in a march from Union Plaza to the U.S. Capitol where they participated in a nonviolent act of civil disobedience. Just as the 1960s Freedom Rides escalated to nonviolent direct action, UNITE HERE built upon the June 2021 Freedom Ride for Voting Rights by returning to Washington, D.C.

Since the 2020 elections, hundreds of anti-voter bills have been introduced in states across the country. Hospitality workers are fighting back to demand that Congress stand up for democracy and end the filibuster, pass all provisions of the For the People Act, fully restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965, raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, and offer permanent protections, dignity, and respect for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“Poor people and workers have always had to fight for our rights on and off the job,” said D. Taylor, UNITE HERE International Union President. “This is about working people fighting to defend true democracy where all voices are heard. We are standing on the shoulders of civil rights and labor leaders who sacrificed their lives so we could be here today.”

From the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom to this summer’s mobilizations, the civil rights and labor movements have been linked historically in our collective struggle for better pay and equal rights for people of color. Union jobs are crucial to move working people out of poverty and have our communities thrive, not just survive.

Despite facing over 98% layoff rates at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNITE HERE members knocked on 3 million doors in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Then, laid-off hospitality workers joined the team that turned Georgia blue to help deliver come-from-behind wins and Take Back the Senate in the January 2021 Georgia Senate runoff.

“The right to vote is directly rooted in our fight for racial justice. As a Black woman and union member I know the struggle to demand dignity and respect for myself and my community, said Tembi Hove, Banquet Server at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta and canvasser during the Georgia Senate runoff elections. “Despite being laid off during COVID-19, I canvassed to get out the vote. I won’t allow my rights to get stripped away. This is our moment to unite against unjust laws that are putting a direct threat on our lives and livelihoods.”

UNITE HERE is taking action with the Poor People’s Campaign because workers will be treated as disposable unless we have real power. Housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, and food service workers from across the country are fighting back because we are the working people, women, people of color, and immigrants who will be most impacted by voter suppression laws.

UNITE HERE Local 11 Endorses Hugo Soto-Martinez for Los Angeles City Council District 13

Los Angeles, CA: Today, on behalf of UNITE HERE Local 11 members who live and work in Los Angeles City Council District 13, the union has announced its enthusiastic endorsement of long-time leader Hugo Soto-Martinez for Los Angeles City Council.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hugo is a U.C. Irvine graduate who has committed his life to fighting for California families. He is an experienced, compassionate, and effective leader who knows how to get things done for the residents of CD 13.

As a server at the L.A. Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, Hugo led a successful union organizing drive. Since then, Hugo has dedicated the past 15 years to standing up for his colleagues and members: the room attendants, cooks, and bartenders who have built and sustain the vital tourism industry in Los Angeles. Hugo’s organizing victories in the workplace have improved the lives of thousands of Angelenos.

As a member of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, Hugo worked to reduce displacement, support the development of affordable housing, and help address our city’s homelessness crisis. As a leader of UNITE HERE Local 11, Hugo has played an instrumental role in efforts to mitigate the effects of illegal short-term rentals on the housing market.

Hugo has worked with leaders of the Democratic Party of California to advance the rights of everyday people across the state. Hugo has organized for immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for our country’s undocumented people and has fought to resist federal policy that tears immigrant families apart. He has also led legislative campaigns to raise wages and protect workers from unsafe conditions.

Hugo has also worked with community groups across Southern California to increase transparency and accountability for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He has been a leader of the movement seeking justice for Andres Guardado, the young man shot five times in the back by the Department in 2020.

On the City Council, Hugo will continue his work and fight to ensure that CD 13 is a vibrant community where everyone—regardless of background or income—can participate in the public decisions that affect their lives. “We need someone to represent this district that represents our values and also has Hugo’s experience bringing people together to make change,” said Liliana Hernandez, a seven-year member of UNITE HERE Local 11. “As a hospitality worker, mom, and resident of District 13, I am excited that Hugo is running to represent me.”

Writers Guild of America West Joins Call for Boycott of Famed 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.”

WGAW’s support follows recent stories in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety Magazine reporting on an unfair labor practice charge filed alleging Chateau management surveilled workers during protests.

###

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing over 10,000 writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and internet programming.

Arizona Activists Descend on AZ Attorney General’s Office to Protest Republican Voter Suppression and Demand Federal Action to Protect Voting Rights

Phoenix, AZ – Nine people were taken into Phoenix Police Department custody after participating in a peaceful civil disobedience outside of Attorney General Brnovich’s office Thursday morning as part of a rally and picket line protesting his relentless attacks on Arizonans’ voting rights.

“We are telling Mark Brnovich, our Attorney General, that we will not just sit by and watch as our rights are stripped away. We deserve real national voting rights legislation and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen,” said Joshua Wells, a community organizer.

On July 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in support of Brnovich’s defense of two restrictive voting laws. The decision gutted Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, undermining historic protections against racial discrimination in elections. Additionally, the Arizona state legislature passed a flurry of anti-voter measures at the tail end of the session that concluded last week. One of those bills requires the Secretary of State to provide voter information, including’ date of birth and part of their Social Security number, to a third-party private vendor who could then remove them from the voter rolls.

At the same time, the Arizona legislature took the unprecedented move of removing powers from the Secretary of State and conferring them on the Arizona Attorney General, a move that coincides with the end of Secretary Katie Hobbs’ term. Attorney General Brnovich announced his intention to run for U. S. Senate in 2022 on June 10.

“We have brave freedom fighters here today who are going to demand justice from our Attorney General and demand that he stop attacking the freedom to vote. When you have a complicit governor, a complicit attorney general, [and a] complicit majority-Republican legislature, there’s only so much we can do here today,” said State Representative Athena Salman, addressing the crowd, “We need Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Mark Kelly and President Joe Biden to stand up. We delivered for them and now they have to deliver for us. The number one thing, the foundation of our democracy, is protecting our freedom to vote.

More than 75 attended the action that highlighted the need for the For the People Act – federal voting rights legislation – to protect against the 350+ voter suppression bills introduced across 47 states since January 2021.

The same coalition recently completed a weeklong freedom ride to Washington D.C for voting rights.