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.

Labor for Bass: LA’s Largest Latino Labor Unions UNITE HERE Local 11 and SEIU-USWW Announce Endorsement of Karen Bass for Mayor

Labor for Bass: LA’s Largest Latino Labor Unions UNITE HERE Local 11 and SEIU-USWW Announce Endorsement of Karen Bass for Mayor

Los Angeles: Today, dozens of hospitality and service workers from UNITE HERE Local 11 and SEIU-USWW, two of Los Angeles’s largest private sector unions representing tens of thousands of latino workers, announced they are endorsing Karen Bass for Mayor of Los Angeles.

Holding the tools of the jobs they do every day to keep Los Angeles running, hotel housekeepers, airport food service workers, cooks, dishwashers and janitorial staff came together at Placita Olvera, a historic gathering place for working class latinos proudly dawning their union colors and chanting “Si se puede!” as they announced their endorsement.

Housekeepers and Janitors have been a political force for decades in California promising hundreds of volunteers to contact voters and “Get out the Vote.”  In 2020, Unite Here Local 11 and SEIU- USWW led the effort to turn out the Latino vote in Arizona which was critical in flipping the state for Biden. They then went on to Georgia to play a key role in the runoff election that put Senator Warnock in office and won the Democrats a majority in the Senate.

“As a leader in my union, I have talked to hundreds of latino voters across Los Angeles and learned they care about the same issues I do. We are worried about things like housing, having to deal with rising rents, and homes being converted to short term rentals.” said Liliana Hernandez, member of UNITE HERE Local 11 and housekeeper of 16 years in Los Angeles. “ I know that Karen Bass is the kind of leader latino working people like me need at City Hall.”

“For decades, I have worked as a server at LAX, serving the millions of travelers that come to our wonderful city every year. I know how big of a role the city and the Mayor can play in making sure that LAX is a thriving place for thousands of latino workers and their families.” said Marlene Mendoza, Vice President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “I was a part of a meeting with Karen Bass, and in talking to her I believe she will support working people from LAX and ensure we take part in our city’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”

“From LAX, to Sofi Stadium, Beverly Hills to Downtown Los Angeles, our members make the beds, serve the food, pour the drinks, and wash the dishes for the millions of tourists that visit Los Angeles  every year.” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President UNITE HERE Local 11. “When it comes to elections our members are  proud to be the leading boots on the ground in ensuring our democracy works for everyone, not just the privileged few.”

Alejandra Valles Treasurer of  SEIU-USWW  mentioned “SEIU USWW was founded in the streets of Los Angeles, when striking janitors demanded justice. We have lead the charge to end the heinous practice of wage theft and the corrosive nature of sexual assault and harrasment in the workplace. We have led the way to improve conditions for Black workers in the security industry, and demanded an end to environmental racism at LAX. The next mayor of Los Angeles must represent the diversity that makes our city so special.

The power of our members and our ability to mobilize Black and Brown workers has demonstrated, time and time again, that we can get the right candidates elected into office.

“Participating as a political volunteer for 10 years gave me the opportunity to find my own voice and feel the collective power of Latino voters standing up on critical issues like healthcare,  wages, sexual violence in the work place, immigration and housing,,”  said Martha Mejia USWW Janitor.

“We fought for months to ensure community and worker voices were heard when it came to the expansion of LAX and we won, but more needs to be done, commented Jovan Houston Airport service worker , “I know Karen Bass will ensure the airport holds to their promises so that our communities can thrive and be healthy.”

Both unions are representative of the growing voting strength of immigrant Angelinos who are building power at the ballot box to fight for issues like affordable housing, better jobs, healthcare, education and the environment. These proud union members have collectively mobilized hundreds of thousands of voters to go out and vote and elect leaders that will fight alongside them.

Karen Bass is the only candidate who will put the needs and interests of working families ahead of wealthy corporations and LA’s elite. She has the experience and track record to advocate for Los Angeles essential workers, a majority of whom are latino and people of color, at City Hall.

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

SEIU United Service Workers West represents more than 45,000 janitors, security officers, airport service workers, and other property service workers across California.

California Labor Commissioner Delivers Checks to Terranea Resort Workers Whose Rights to Return to Work Were Violated

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

California Labor Commissioner Delivers Checks to Terranea Resort Workers Whose Rights to Return to Work Were Violated

Los Angeles, CA-  The Labor Commissioner’s Office has begun distributing more than $1.5 million to 57 workers laid off at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes during the COVID-19 pandemic who were not offered job positions promptly as required by the Right to Recall Law.

The distribution of checks to workers began during an in-person press conference led by Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower.  The Labor Commissioner’s Office cited Terranea alleging violations of the recall law in March and subsequently reached a settlement with the resort, resulting in the payments for workers.  More information regarding the citation is available here.

Virginia Eredia, who was laid off by the Terranea after working nearly six years as a turndown attendant.  Eredia said: “After losing my job, I lost my house, my car, and had to go into a lot of debt. This money will help ease some of that and will help me buy a car to get to work. I would have never received this had I not chosen to stand up for my rights. I hope other hotel workers see this and know what is possible.”

Terranea workers were at the forefront of the campaign to enact SB-93. The resort had terminated most of its employees without making a binding commitment to rehire them and cut off their healthcare at the beginning of the pandemic.

Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers’ union that fought for the law and helped the workers file complaints, said: “When the Terranea Resort exploited the pandemic to fire most of their workers, the hotel caused incalculable chaos and harm on those workers and their families. Rather than walking away, these brave workers decided to fight to return to their jobs.  And today we celebrate their victory and courage.  We also want to thank the Labor Commissioner and her staff for their extraordinary effort to return these workers back to work.”

The distribution of checks resolves the first case brought under California’s recently-enacted Right to Recall Law.  Signed into law last year, SB-93 requires hotels, event centers, and other hospitality businesses to offer employees whom they laid off due the COVID-19 downturn in tourism an opportunity to return to work in open positions for which they are qualified in order of seniority. The statute provides job protections to some 700,000 housekeepers, cooks, waiters, and other laid off workers.

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

Environmental Groups and UNITE HERE Local 11 Call Out Terranea “Eco-Resort” Owners Lowe & JC Resorts for Execs’ Funding of Climate Change Deniers

Press Release: July 19, 2022

Environmental Groups and UNITE HERE Local 11 Call Out Terranea “Eco-Resort” Owners Lowe & JC Resorts for Execs’ Funding of Climate Change Deniers

As Congressional climate agenda stalls, environmental activists and UNITE HERE Local 11 press resort owners whose leaders fund anti-environment politicians

Los Angeles: This week a coalition of environmental organizations and allies called out Terranea Resort owners JC Resorts and Lowe for throwing millions at anti-environment politicians and other conservative causes.

The Terranea, a sprawling property along an environmentally sensitive stretch of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, bills itself as a “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” resort.

Yet an open letter to the resort signed by leading environmental groups highlights that since 2012 executives of Terranea’s owners Lowe and JC Resorts have collectively contributed over $2 million to anti-environment Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump and conservative causes like the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity PAC.

Nico Gardner Serna with Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, a signatory to the letter, said: “As an environmental activist/leader with the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles who was raised in and currently lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, I am deeply concerned about Terranea’s ownership executives making political contributions that stand in the way of our fight against global climate change. Political contributions are moral statements. I would like to see them stop giving money to climate change-denying politicians like Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, and Lindsey Graham, and instead commit to protecting the land, air, water, and animals in this region.”

In addition to the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, the open letter is signed by Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, Communities for a Better Environment, CA Environmental Voters (League of Conservation Voters), Physicians for Social Responsibility, LAANE, Labor Network for Sustainability, and the hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 11.  Examples of political donations highlighted in the letter, which can be accessed here, include the following:

 

  • House Minority Leader Republican Kevin McCarthy was the largest recipient of Lowe executives’ largesse, receiving $189,800 since 2012. McCarthy received a 3% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters and has opposed the Biden Administration’s efforts to move the country away from fossil fuels.

 

  • Robert J. Lowe Sr. contributed $50,000 to the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity Action (AFPA) from October 9, 2020 through October 1, 2021.  According to the Center for Media and Democracy, “AFP’s messages are in sync with those of other groups funded by Charles Koch—opposing labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and any effort to combat climate change.”

 

  • Contributions from JC Resorts Chairman Paul Reed included $16,600 to Donald Trump. The New York Times has reported that “the damage done by the greenhouse gas pollution unleashed by President Trump’s rollbacks may prove to be one of the most profound legacies of his single term.”

“As a union, we are committed to ensuring that workers across the hospitality industry work in environments where they and their surrounding communities are treated with dignity and respect. That extends to the natural environment, animals, and habitat.  It is outrageous that executives of the owners of Terranea, a resort billed as environmentally friendly, would be funding the politicians responsible for blocking reform to stop catastrophic climate change,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

The signatory organizations are calling on “Terranea’s owners Lowe and JC Resorts to immediately stop their leaders from making donations to Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy and Republicans like them who are standing in the way of our fight against global climate change.”

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

 

Update on Compass/Levy Labor Dispute at Dodger Stadium

BREAKING NEWS: 07/11/2022

Dodger Stadium Workers Vote 99% to Authorize Strike Ahead of MLB All-Star Game

Workers employed by concessionaire Compass/Levy seek a fair union contract

Los Angeles, CA: Yesterday, stadium workers who work the food and beverage stands operated by concessions giant Compass Group and Levy Restaurants at Dodger Stadium voted 99% to strike as Los Angeles gets ready for the All-Star Game. A strike could be called at any moment.
Compass Group is the sixth largest company in the world. Its subsidiary, Levy Restaurants, employs nearly 1,500 food servers, bartenders, suite attendants, cooks and dishwashers at Dodger Stadium, an overwhelming majority of whom are workers of color. These workers are seeking to negotiate a fair new union contract.
“I voted yes to strike because I often have to pick up shifts at the Rose Bowl just to try to make ends meet. I love working at Dodger Stadium and know that our company can do better, ” said Laura Ortiz, bartender for Compass Group and Levy Restaurants, 15 seasons at Dodger Stadium.
“The Dodgers are my life, I even took my engagement pictures at Dodger Stadium. I proudly served Dodger dogs and beers for many years and want our company, Compass/Levy, to recognize our worth and raise standards for all of its stadium workers,” said Sylvia Sosa, bartender for Compass Group and Levy Restaurants, 46 seasons at Dodger Stadium.
“Stadium workers are proud of the role they play to bring fans the best game experience possible. They are the backbone of our tourism and sports industry, yet many struggle to stay housed and to make ends meet. They often live with economic uncertainty because the quality of jobs vary stadium to stadium. No worker should have to continue living like this,” said Susan Minato, Co-President UNITE HERE Local 11.
Earlier this year, stadium workers at SoFi won a pathbreaking union contract that provides for dignified wages, benefits, and other protections. Levy workers at Dodger Stadium are seeking to win the same rights.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAYOR GARCETTI SIGNS HOTEL WORKER PROTECTION ORDINANCE

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Garcetti today was joined by UNITE HERE Local 11 to sign the Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance into law, ensuring hotel workers’ safety, fair compensation, and improvement of the general work environment.

“Hotel workers are on the frontlines of our economic recovery and their work uplifts Los Angeles and is part of what makes this city an amazing place to visit,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I am proud to sign this ordinance into law — allowing mothers to spend more time with their children and to feel safe when walking into their place of work. Their hard work and perseverance inspires me and they deserve a fair work environment.”

This new law provides for security measures to protect hotel workers from sexual assault and threatening conduct, and fair compensation through a wage premium for heavy workloads in hotels with over 45 guest rooms. These new provisions will give hotel workers an environment in which they are allowed to thrive.

“Our City’s economy is built around the service industry and hotel workers are the City’s backbone,” said Councilmember Kevin De Leon. “Our city council embraced the legislative authority granted to us by the voters of Los Angeles to ensure that they have a safe workplace and the fair compensation that they deserve. I stand with the hard-working immigrant women and men who make up the hospitality industry in our city, and I’m proud that today Mayor Garcetti signed this ordinance into law.”

“The city’s economic recovery is only as good as that of its hospitality workers. This law will make sure that recovery is fair by providing better wages and protections for some of the workers who bore the brunt of the pandemic,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President, UNITE HERE Local 11. “Thank you to Mayor Garcetti, Los Angeles City Council and workers who shared their stories with thousands of voters to make this possible.”

“As a hotel housekeeper it inspires me to see Mayor Garcetti sign into law the ordinance I, and hundreds of other hospitality workers spent months gathering over 100,000 signatures for,” said Isela Ramos, hotel housekeeper and member of UNITE HERE Local 11. “At a time when our rights as women and workers are under attack, this law is proof of the tangible change working people can achieve when we take action in our democracy.”

BREAKING NEWS: 06/28/2021

Los Angeles City Council Passes UNITE HERE Local 11’s Groundbreaking Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance

Ordinance, Now Headed to Mayor Garcetti’s Desk, Will Make Los Angeles one of the nation’s first to require daily room cleaning, panic buttons, and fair compensation for heavy workloads

Los Angeles: In a 8-2 vote, the Los Angeles City Council passed a life changing law that would provide much needed protections for hotel workers across the city.

The final procedural vote comes after the council voted to adopt the ordinance last week.

 The law provides:

  • Automatic daily room cleaning throughout the industry

  • Panic buttons and other security measures to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and threatening conduct

  • Fair compensation for heavy workloads

  • Expansion of minimum wage law for hotel workers

“We are grateful to the Los Angeles City Council for this historic victory for hospitality workers.  During the pandemic hotel housekeepers were lined up at food banks while the hotel industry received billions of dollars of corporate welfare and now are enjoying record breaking profits.  This law, we hope, will start to focus the economic recovery from the greed of corporations to the needs of the workers who are the backbone of the tourism industry,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President, UNITE HERE Local 11.

While much of the law mirrors protections hotel workers have secured in Long Beach, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Glendale, the Los Angeles law also breaks new ground in the region by requiring automatic daily room cleaning of hotel rooms.

“This Council has consistently recognized that, for the past two and a half years, our hotel workers have provided essential services during unprecedented and uncertain times. Their sacrifices and service saved lives, and now it’s time for us to ensure that they have access to the overtime pay and safe working conditions that they deserve,” said Council President Nury Martínez.

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

In Honor of 2nd Angelversary of Andres Guardado Allies and Family Rally Outside Hall of Justice Call for Accountability and Charter Amendment

Two years after the killing of Andres Guardado at the hands of Los Angeles Sheriff deputies, UNITE HERE Local 11 and allies continued the call for accountability, justice, and  transparency.

Although an independent investigation was launched by the FBI into the killing of Andres in late 2020, allies say more needs to be done within the department to make sure this never happens again. Saying true transparency and accountability could be achieved through a charter amendment.

The union and allies also heard testimony from the Guardado family and other families impacted by violence within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

“It has nearly been two years but it feels like just yesterday our son was taken from us.” said Cristobal Guardado, father and UNITE HERE Local 11 member. “ It means the world to me knowing that my son and his memory is not being forgotten.”

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 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.

Shortly after, UNITE HERE Local 11 and other allies called for Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign. Thousands of people and groups like CLUE, ACLU SoCal, Check The Sheriff,  and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles have joined the call. Most recently, voters across Los Angeles County overwhelmingly voted for new leadership to lead LASD, with Villanueva only receiving 31% of the vote so far, a runoff election is set to happen in November.

“Voters across Los Angeles County spoke up this past primary election. They want change. They want justice, accountability and transparency within the Sheriff’s department. As a union, we will do whatever it takes to make sure justice is served for the Guardado family and all families impacted by the recklessness of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

”We are urging the Board of Supervisors to refer to voters a County Charter amendment to finally establish meaningful checks and balances of the sheriff and the department—no matter who the sheriff is,” said Pastor Cue, Clergy for Black Lives and Pastor of The Church Without Walls in Skid Row.