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.

Civil Rights Fight of our Lifetime: Hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 11 Members & Community Allies Launch Freedom Ride From Phoenix, AZ to Washington D.C to Pass the For the People Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Maria Hernandez | 623-340-8047 | mhernandez@unitehere11.org

Civil Rights Fight of our Lifetime: Hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 11 Members & Community Allies Launch Freedom Ride From Phoenix, AZ to Washington D.C to Pass the For the People Act

Who: UNITE HERE Local 11, CASE Action, Black Voters Matter, and other community allies
What: Launch freedom ride to urge the Senate to pass the For the People Act
When: Launch June 18, 2021 from Phoenix, AZ 11:30am – June 26th, 2021 Washington, D.C at 10:45 AM
Where: Phoenix launch 1021 S. 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85007
Follow: @UNITEHERE11AZ , and @CASEActionAZ, and @BlackVotersMtr #UNITEHERE #FreedomRide2021

Phoenix, AZ: In 2020, UNITE HERE Local 11 and CASE Action knocked on a million doors to turn Arizona blue and went to Georgia to take back the Senate. Now, UNITE HERE Local 11 and CASE Action join Black Voters Matter on a historic 10-day Freedom Ride from Arizona to Washington D.C to ask lawmakers to do what is necessary to pass the For the People Act.

Since the 2020 general election, over 350 anti-voter bills have been introduced in 47 states. For Arizonans, the attack on voting rights demonstrates the need for federal legislation to protect voters. The For the People Act would protect voting rights by prohibiting gerrymandering and unnecessary voter roll purges, guaranteeing transparency for election contributions, protecting the right to vote by mail, and automatically registering eligible Americans to vote.

Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the 1960’s Civil Rights era, freedom riders will drive across the South with stops at historical cities like Tulsa, OK, Little Rock, AK, Montgomery, AL and more. Four buses are launching from Phoenix, AZ with members from Arizona and California on board. They will join three other bus routes and converge on Washington D.C. by June 26. While in D.C., members plan to lobby elected officials on behalf of the For the People Act.

Background: The For the People Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives but now awaits a vote in the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future with the filibuster. One of Arizona’s senators, Kyrsten Sinema, has repeatedly said that she is unwilling to reform or eliminate the filibuster. Members hope to meet with her and share their voting-rights concerns while in Washington D.C.

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UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, stadiums, sports arenas, convention centers, and airports.

CASE Action Fund is an economic justice organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arizona’s working families through policy advocacy and increasing participation in the political process

WeHo Hotel Workers and Allies March to City Hall

In Wake of Delay, WeHo Hotel Workers and Allies March to City Hall to Demand Immediate Action

After the City Council and City Manager discussed postponement of hotel worker protection policy during Monday’s Council meeting, workers and allies deliver petition to City Hall with 100 worker signatures in support of protection ordinance 

West Hollywood, CA: Over 30 workers and community allies, including a representative from the Stonewall Democratic Club and West Hollywood residents, marched to City Hall to deliver a petition in support of the anticipated hotel worker protection policy after a delay in the vote was announced during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

“I worked at the Standard for 16 years, and I still have no idea if I will be recalled back to work. Why would the city delay this?” said Sandra Pellecer, a former cook at the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, as she attempted to deliver the petition with 100 worker signatures to City Hall.

The policy is aimed at ensuring workers in the hotel industry, many of whom have dedicated decades of service to the industry, have jobs to return to as the economy reopens. The policy will also contain a series of measures to address the constellation of industry-wide problems that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as sexual assault, inadequate compensation for heavy workloads, and the lack of comprehensive, standardized training.

With the industry scheduled to reopen in less than a week, dozens of laid off hotel workers urged the City to bring the ordinance to a vote as soon as possible.

“We need to know that we will return to jobs where we have enough time to clean rooms thoroughly,” said Norma Hernandez, a room attendant who worked at the Mondrian for 12 years. “Before I was laid off, I would clean 12 rooms in a day. I was constantly racing against the clock to finish my assignment, and would even go without water to avoid bathroom breaks to save time. We need to be compensated fairly for this work if we are recalled.”

Similar worker retention ordinances have been passed in many cities across the region, including Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Glendale, and Los Angeles County. In 2019, the city of Santa Monica passed a historic Housekeeper Bill of Rights with similar panic button, workload compensation, training, and worker retention measures. Santa Monica also passed right of recall in the wake of 9/11.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, 95% of hotel workers were laid off, most left without healthcare or job security, and many after decades in the industry. Workers in the hotel industry are overwhelmingly immigrants and women of color, some of the hardest hit amid the pandemic.

The policy would ensure that hotel workers are a part of a just economic recovery for West Hollywood.

UNITE HERE Local 11 Supports LACDP’s Vote for Sheriff Alex Villanueva to Resign

PRESS RELEASE: 06/08/2021

PRESS CONTACT: Maria Hernandez | 623-340-8047| mhernandez@unitehere11.org

 

UNITE HERE Local 11 Supports  LACDP’s Vote for Sheriff Alex Villanueva to Resign

Passage comes ahead of one-year “Angelversary” marking the death of Andres Guardado

 

Los Angeles, CA: Tonight, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted 91% in favor of a resolution calling for the accountability and resignation of Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The party initially endorsed Villanueva during his election.

The killing of Andres Guardado was outlined as key evidence for the approval of the resolution. On June 18, 2020 while working as a security guard in Gardena, LASD deputies shot Guardado five times in the back, as reported by two independent autopsies. The eighteen-year-old had gotten the job at an auto body shop to help provide for his family after his father, a hotel worker and UNITE HERE Local 11 member, was laid off due to COVID-19.

The resolution was led by UNITE HERE Local 11 who first launched efforts for Sheriff Villanueva to resign in July 2020 with groups like Black Lives Matter, ACLU, and CLUE. 

 “We want to thank the leadership and members of the Los Angeles Democratic Party for their strong and courageous vote. Tonight’s vote is an important moment in our union’s fight to stand up against the atrocities of the Sheriff’s department under Alex Villanueva,” said Ada Briceno UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President and DNC member. 

“Our job goes beyond endorsing someone. We also need to hold our elected officials accountable. It is important that we make sure their actions are aligned with our values. And if they’re not, we must take a stand and continue to fight for the things that matter most,” said Elise Moore, Corresponding Secretary of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley and Co-chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Judicial Interview Committee.

The resolution was supported by community groups like SEIU 2015; NUHW; UFCW 770; Roofers Local 36; UTLA; UNITE HERE Local 11; and many others.

On the one-year “Angelversary” of the killing of Andres Guardado, June 18th, UNITE HERE Local 11 will hold a press conference outside the Hall of Justice and later be joined by the Guardado family continuing the call for justice. The union and its allies also plan to hold a march from the auto shop where Andres was killed to the Compton Sheriff’s station on Saturday June 19, 2021 from 11am-1pm.  

 

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UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, stadiums, sports arenas, convention centers, and airports.

“Serving Our Community” Recognized with Prestigious National Workforce Award

The Hospitality Training Academy will be presented with W.O Lawton Award this June by the National Association of Workforce Boards in Washington, DC

Los Angeles, CA: May 28, 2021—The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) recently announced Serving Our Community Program as the winner of the prestigious W.O. Lawton Award. The award will be presented at NAWB’s upcoming Forum 2021 in Washington, D.C.

UNITE HERE Local 11 and HTA’s “Serving Our Community” program has prepared and delivered over 3.75 million meals. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the program has provided 1,100 jobs to recently laid-off union and non-union workers and served 10,000 homebound seniors, people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence and
slavery & trafficking, and low-income families.

“Thank you to the National Association of Workforce Boards for this amazing honor. We are so proud to have brought back so many workers to provide meals for those in need and also help reenergize the economy.” said Adine Forman, HTA Executive Director.“The Serving our Community Program shows what we can accomplish together – when labor, employers, and elected officials come together to innovatively and safely provide vital resources to our community,” said Susan Minato Co-President of UNITE HERE Local and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the HTA.

“Over the past year, workforce development boards, leaders and industry partners have gone above and beyond to provide essential services in a time of national crisis,” said Ron Painter, President and CEO of NAWB. “NAWB could not be more honored to recognize each of these award recipients. Workforce Development Boards are a critical piece of our country’s infrastructure, and we are thrilled to take a moment to recognize them at our annual event.” The “Serving Our Community” Program was selected out of a large pool of nominations for W.O. Lawton Award, which recognizes businesses and business organizations that have made the commitment of time, money, and leadership to make their community’s workforce and
economy more vibrant. To learn more about all of the award winners and NAWB’s annual event The Forum, please
visit: https://forum.nawb.org/.

UNITE HERE Local 11 Opposes Federal Handouts to Hospitality Industry in Proposed “Save Hotel Jobs Act”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Opposes Federal Handouts to Hospitality Industry in Proposed “Save Hotel Jobs Act” 

California’s Largest Hospitality Union says: “Bringing back veteran workers should not come with a $20 billion price tag”

  

Los Angeles, California: UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents over 32,000 hospitality workers across Southern California and Arizona, sent a letter to the American Hotel and Lodging Association and dozens of members of Congress in firm opposition to the “Save Hotel Jobs Act” today.

The policy being considered by Congress would hand over $20 billion in federal aid to encourage hotels to bring back their veteran workers. This aid is in addition to the millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans multiple hotels received, originally intended for small businesses to keep workers on their payroll. Local 11 has estimated the country’s hospitality industry has already received $13.7 billion in public support, while 75% of our members in the hospitality industry remain unemployed.

In California, the hospitality industry and hotel employers lobbied against a right to return bill that would have guaranteed veteran workers their jobs back as the industry reopens. In the face of the industry’s opposition, UNITE HERE Local 11 was successful in getting right-to-return legislation passed in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, Pasadena, unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, and most recently across the state of California, extending these protections to 700,000 hospitality workers.

“Bringing back veteran workers should not come with a $20 billion price tag. This is a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of room attendants, cooks, dishwashers, and hotel workers who lost lives and livelihoods because of the pandemic. Any hotel employer using this as an opportunity to make money should be ashamed of themselves” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

Hospitality workers, who tend to be majority women of color, have suffered the brunt of this pandemic, with many losing their lives to COVID-19.  Employers like Terranea Resort and Chateau Marmont fired their veteran workers and cut their healthcare during the pandemic.

“The federal government has given millions in relief to these hotel conglomerates. It is time to put workers first. The Biden administration and Congress have an opportunity to build back better and hold employers like Chateau Marmont and Terranea accountable,” said Susan Minato, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

“We ask Congress to take the responsible path. First by fixing the Paycheck Protection Program so there is genuine transparency and accountability. Second, any federal handouts to the hotel industry should be conditioned and provide enforceable COVID-19 protocols to ensure worker safety and any direct payments should go to struggling workers,” said Ada Briceño, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

“I gave 40 years of my life to the Chateau Marmont. I lost my healthcare after they fired me and now, I drive part-time delivering pizzas. Yet Andre Balazs, the owner of the Chateau Marmont, was approved for a $1.95 million federal loan. Workers like me have yet to see any of that money or to be brought back to work,” said Carlos Barrera, garage attendant at Chateau Marmont.

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PRESS RELEASE: California Democrats Endorse Growing Boycott of Chateau Marmont Hotel

California Democrats Endorse Growing Boycott of Chateau Marmont Hotel

The state party acts following second racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a Black former worker

Los Angeles, CA: The California Democratic Party endorsed the highly publicized boycott of the Chateau Marmont in a resolution passed Sunday at the party’s convention.

“I am so proud of our state’s Democratic leadership,” said Ada Briceño, chair of the Orange County Democratic Party and co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Mistreatment in the workplace directly conflicts with our Party’s values, and we will not stand for it. The California Democratic Party will continue to lead by taking bold stances on issues that directly impact working families.”

Earlier last week, a second former worker filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Chateau Marmont alleging a racially hostile work environment. April Blackwell, a Black woman, alleged she experienced unsafe working conditions while on overnight shifts at the Chateau Marmont. This January, former events server Thomasina Gross filed a lawsuit against the hotel alleging she also experienced race discrimination and sexual harassment while working at the hotel.

The California Democratic Party has a history of supporting workers who drive the state’s massive and lucrative tourism industry. At its 2019 convention, the party endorsed the boycott of the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, which is ongoing. Two weeks ago, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the first statewide law in the nation granting a right to return to work for people laid off from jobs in hospitality, one of the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Hospitality workers like those fired from Chateau Marmont are the backbone of our state’s economy. Their willingness to come forward and speak out takes real courage and we are proud to stand in solidarity with them,” said Rusty Hicks, Chair of the California Democratic Party.

“For too long, corporations have gotten rich at the expense of Black and Brown workers. Many of them are immigrant women of color like Martha Moran who for 33 years cleaned the rooms of the rich and famous that stayed at LA’s Chateau Marmont. It’s time that we hold greedy employers like Chateau Marmont accountable ” said Betty Yee, Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party.

“When the Chateau Marmont fired me, I turned around and went to Arizona to knock on doors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because I saw how much this country needed a change. Political power can and should build up working people, and the California Democratic Party proved that again today,” said Jordan Mueck, who worked at Chateau Marmont as an events server for over 2 years.

It has been over a year since the Chateau Marmont fired more than 200 of its workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving workers who had dedicated decades of their lives to the hotel without job security or company-provided healthcare. Since then, many of the hotel’s workers have spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, prompting concern from community leaders and the call for a boycott until the hotel demonstrates 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.

Former Worker Files Race Discrimination and Workplace Safety Lawsuit Against Chateau Marmont 

PRESS CONTACT:  For lawsuit questions – Lauren Teukolsky | Lauren@teuklaw.com| 323-573-2378

UNITE HERE Local 11 – Maria Hernandez | mhernandez@unitehere11.org | 623-340-8047

Former Worker Files Race Discrimination and Workplace Safety Lawsuit Against Chateau Marmont

The lawsuit, the second this year against the famed hotel, comes days after Aaron Sorkin pulled filming of “Being the Ricardos” from the property, honoring a growing boycott

Los Angeles, CA:  Following a weekend of protests drawing attention to the growing boycott at the Oscars-season hot spot Chateau Marmont, another Black worker has filed a lawsuit against the Chateau Marmont alleging race discrimination.

“This is the second race discrimination lawsuit filed against the Chateau Marmont by a Black woman in the span of four months.  This suggests that these were not isolated incidents, but instead part of a larger pattern or practice of discrimination at the Chateau,”stated Lauren Teukolsky, an attorney who represents Ms. Blackwell, as well as another worker who has filed suit against the hotel, Thomasina Gross. 

April Blackwell, a Black woman, alleges in her lawsuit that she experienced a racially hostile work environment and unsafe working conditions at the Chateau.  Her lawsuit alleges that, as the only overnight front desk agent working in the Chateau’s drug and alcohol-fueled “anything goes” environment, she was subjected to racist and sexist harassment by guests while performing her job.  Ms. Blackwell alleges that when she reported abusive and threatening guest conduct to managers, they took little corrective action. In December 2019, the hotel disciplined and terminated her after a particularly egregious episode of guest harassment.

“I know that people who are not Black have not had to go through the things we have had to go through as Black people and Black workers. That is why I am here today: because I want accountability. I want Chateau to understand that they did things they should not have done. I want Chateau to understand that it’s not acceptable to let their workers be harassed and threatened by guests,” said plaintiff April Blackwell, who worked at Chateau Marmont as an overnight front desk agent.

In January, former events server Thomasina Gross filed a lawsuit against the hotel alleging that she also experienced race discrimination and sexual harassment while working at the hotel.

The latest lawsuit comes several days after Oscar-nominated director Aaron Sorkin honored workers’ call for a boycott of the Chateau Marmont by pulling the production of Being the Ricardos from the hotel.

A growing number of celebrities have endorsed the boycott, including Jane Fonda, Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Sheen, Tom Morello, Edie Falco, Lena Headey, Constance Zimmer, Nikki Bilderback, Thomas Sadoski, Joshua Oppenhimer, Eliza Dushku, Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Silverman, Daveed Diggs, and Alison Pill. Organizations such as SAG-AFTRA have also voiced their support for the workers.

“Black leaders and organizers have forced all of us to confront and fight to end our society’s systemic racism. The hotel industry profits from racist employment practices. Hotels employ few Black workers.  And when they do, Black workers often work in out of sight positions such as PBX operators or overnight auditors who do their work in a closet behind the front desk,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

Chateau Marmont workers have asked the public to boycott the hotel until it demonstrates a commitment to respecting their 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.

“What April Blackwell has described having to endure working overnight at this hotel shocks the conscience.  It has no place in our community.  It has no place in 2021.  It is about time we put an end, once and for all, to this kind of outrageous treatment of workers.” said Reverend Kelvin Sauls, Clergy for Black Lives.

It has been over a year since the Chateau Marmont fired more than 200 of its workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving workers who had dedicated decades of their lives to the hotel without job security or company-provided healthcare. Since then, many of the hotel’s workers have spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, prompting concern from community leaders and the call for a boycott.

April Blackwell is represented in her lawsuit by Lauren Teukolsky of Teukolsky Law, APC, Jeremy Blasi, and Zoe Tucker.

Fired Chateau Marmont Workers Call Attention to Hotel Boycott with Red Carpet Protest Outside the Chateau Marmont

As Hollywood Prepares for Oscar Weekend, Fired Chateau Marmont Workers Call Attention to Hotel Boycott with Red Carpet Protest Outside the Awards Show After-Party Hotspo

Protest Comes A Day After Academy Award Nominated Film Director Aaron Sorkin Pulls Film Project from Chateau In Solidarity with Workers 

Los Angeles, CA: As Oscar weekend begins, over a hundred protestors–including laid off Chateau Marmont workers– gathered outside the awards show after-party hotspot to call attention to the snowballing boycott at the hotel. 

The action came a day after Oscar-Nominated Director Aaron Sorkin pulled filming of the major production Being the Ricardos, starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, from the hotel due to the ongoing labor dispute, honoring the boycott at the Chateau Marmont.  

The protest had an awards show theme to celebrate the decades of service that fired Chateau Marmont workers gave to “Hollywood’s Playground” and that the workers have events planned throughout Oscar weekend calling attention to the boycott at the hotel.

“We applaud Aaron Sorkin, Martin Sheen, Amanda Seyfried and dozens of other celebrities who support the boycott of the Chateau Marmont.  It is official:  Hollywood has left the Chateau Marmont.  They are only coming back when the bartenders,servers, and room attendants return to their jobs and have a workplace free of harassment and abuse.” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.” 

Through the highly publicized boycott of the Chateau Marmont, workers are calling 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. 

“I never really saw myself as a leader but when we were fired I realized I needed to fight back for myself, my coworkers and my family,” said Walter Almendarez, who worked as a bellman at the Chateau Marmont for 26 years.

 A growing number of celebrities have endorsed the workers’ call for a boycott, including Jane Fonda, Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Sheen, Tom Morello,  Edie Falco, Lena Headey, Constance Zimmer, Nikki Bilderback, Thomas Sadoski, Joshua Oppenhimer, Eliza Dushku, Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Silverman, Daveed Diggs and Alison Pill. Organizations like SAG-AFTRA have also voiced their support for the fired workers.

It has been over a year since the Chateau Marmont fired more than 200 of its workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving workers who had dedicated decades of their lives to the hoteL without job security or company-provided healthcare. Since then, many of the hotel’s workers have spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, prompting concern from community leaders and the call for a boycott. 

According to public records, the Chateau Marmont was approved for a $1.95 million PPP loan on February 5, 2021, and as of April 13 the loan had been disbursed but not paid in full or charged off, according to the SBA. UNITE HERE Local 11 has asked the U.S Small Business Administration to conduct an inquiry to ensure the hotel complies with Paycheck Protection Loan requirements.