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.

High resolution photos are available upon request.

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11 joint statement

CLAREMONT, California – Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11 have completed a four-year collective bargaining agreement delivering historic wage gains for the College’s dining and catering teams. By July 1, 2024, all team members will reach a minimum of $25 an hour. On average, the contract will provide a 36% increase over the four years, further raising the standards for food service workers in the region. The College’s Local 11 members overwhelmingly ratified the agreement in a vote on January 18. 

Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11 issued this joint statement: 

“We are pleased to move forward with an agreement that recognizes the excellence and dedication of the dining and catering employees represented by UNITE HERE Local 11. The agreement provides substantial wage increases and, for the first time, the College also will make contributions to the union’s Legal Services Fund and Hospitality Industry Training and Education Fund. The agreement offers the stability of a multi-year contract to support Local 11 members and their families in making strong wage gains in the face of rising costs of living in our region. Coming after nearly six months of negotiations, the agreement shows the commitment of both parties to work through the collective bargaining process for the benefit of UNITE HERE Local 11 members and the entire college community.”

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

Pomona College holds a unique place in creating opportunity in American higher education.  It is one of a small number of colleges committed to need-blind admissions for domestic applicants and meeting the full demonstrated need of all students who enroll.

Chateau Marmont and UNITE HERE Local 11 Reach Historic Union Contract

Los Angeles, CA: In a historic breakthrough, UNITE HERE Local 11 and management at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont have reached agreement for a historic union contract.  Today, the hotel’s workers overwhelmingly ratified the contract. 

The new contract, which takes effect immediately, sets a new standard for boutique hotels.   Some highlights include: 

  • An immediate 25% wage increase for returning non-tipped workers. Housekeepers, for example, will earn $25.00 an hour within one year.  
  • Free family health insurance for workers who work 60 hours or more a month.
  • Free legal services for immigration, consumer and tenant issues. 
  • Union pension fund. 
  • Unprecedented protections for immigrants.  For example, workers with DACA and TPS work authorization have 5 years to return to work should the government or Supreme Court eliminate these programs.
  • Hotel recognizes Juneteenth as a paid holiday, making the hotel one of  the very first to recognize this historic day. 

The agreement marks the latest stage in a partnership between the iconic hotel and Los Angeles’s hospitality workers’ union.  In August, the hotel voluntarily recognized the union after a majority of workers signed union cards and promptly commenced negotiations for a first union contract.  The agreement formalizes the parties’ relationship and establishes a framework for cooperation both inside the hotel and beyond.  

Walter Almendarez, a worker leader of UNITE HERE Local 11 who served as a Bellperson at Chateau Marmont for 26 years, said: “I am so proud that my coworkers and I will be returning to work at the Chateau Marmont while providing a secure and dignified life for our families.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen stated, “The Chateau Marmont workers are the heroes of the pandemic.  After losing their jobs along with other hotel workers during the pandemic, they not only helped win California’s historic right to return to work law but now they will return to their jobs with an extraordinary union contract.  We commend the Chateau Marmont for negotiating in good faith and look forward to opportunities to build a more just Los Angeles together.” 

Irvine Becomes First City in OC to Pass Protections for Hotel Housekeepers

Law would provide fair compensation for heavy workloads and protections from sexual assault

Irvine, CA: Irvine housekeepers made history tonight, when the Irvine City Council voted 3-1 in favor of passing the Irvine Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance that would provide fair compensation for burdensome workload and protections from sexual assault.

The Irvine Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance will also:

1. Provide working panic buttons and other security measures like 24-hour security to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and other threatening conduct.

2. Reinstate automatic daily room cleaning.

3. Ensure fair compensation for heavy workloads.

On October 25th, the Irvine City Council voted 3-2 to move forward a policy, Tuesday night’s vote was the final vote needed to pass the law.

“History was made in Orange County today, the Irvine City Council chose to stand with women against abuse by passing the law to provide fair compensation for burdensome workloads and protections from assault.” said Ada Briceño, co-president UNITE HERE Local 11. “Housekeepers are the backbone of this city, and this law will ensure more of them are treated with dignity and respect.”

Irvine will be the first city in Orange County to enact such protections. California cities such as Long Beach, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Glendale and Los Angeles have already passed similar ordinances.

“The added measures of this new law make me feel protected and heard by our city leaders.” said Evelyn Martinez, Irvine Hilton housekeeper of 13 years.

“Thanks to the Irvine City Council for voting to stand with housekeepers like me across Irvine,” said Diana Nufio, Housekeeper at Irvine Hilton for 10 years. “The bravery of my coworkers and I has not gone unnoticed.”


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

UNITE HERE Local 11 and Worker Power Knock on 1.6 Million Doors for Midterms in 2nd and 5th Largest Cities in U.S. 

Over 600 cooks, dishwashers, housekeepers and  food service workers fight to elect pro-worker candidates across Arizona and Southern California

AZ and CA: As the 2022 midterm elections come to a close, the hospitality workers union UNITE HERE Local 11 in coalition with Worker Power, which focuses on young voters, people of color and swing voters, celebrate their work in Arizona, Los Angeles and Orange County to elect leaders who will fight for working families up and down the ballot.

Starting as early as May, a total of over 600 canvassers with UNITE HERE Local 11 and Worker Power knocked on a total of 1.6 million doors, and had 250,000 conversations with voters between the two states. They knocked on 1 million of those doors after the primary elections.

These are the same hospitality workers who, in 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic, turned Arizona blue for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris by knocking on 800,000 doors, and then went to Georgia for the special Senate election to secure seats for Senators Warnock and Ossoff.

In Arizona, Worker Power and UNITE HERE Local 11 knocked on 750,000 doors and contacted 120,000 voters with 400 canvassers by election day on the ground across Maricopa county, advocating for candidates U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, Katie Hobbs, Adrian Fontes, state legislators Christine Marsh and Judy Schwiebert, Kellen Wilson for Phoenix City Council District 6, and Carlos Garcia for Phoenix City Council District 8.

Phoenix, AZ: “Our canvassers have been hard at it since the late summer, hitting almost half a million doors since Labor Day alone,” said UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Susan Minato. “Our members have canvassed cycle after cycle for the last 15 years in Arizona because they know that it’s door-by-door that things are going to change. In addition to canvassing for Senator Mark Kelly, who we successfully got elected in 2020, and Secretary of State/gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, this year we have proudly run one of our own members for Phoenix City Council – Kellen Wilson. Kellen would join our member Betty Guardado who we got elected to Phoenix City Council in 2019. Bellmen, bartenders, cooks, and housekeepers have led the charge for political change in Arizona, and they won’t stop now.”

In Los Angeles, UNITE HERE Local 11 knocked on a total of 770,000 doors contacted over 100,000 voters with over 100 canvassers to elect Karen Bass for Mayor, Hugo Soto-Martinez for Los Angeles City Council District 13, Erin Darling for Los Angeles City Council District 11, and Lindsey Horvath for Los Angeles County Supervisor.

Los Angeles, CA: “I am proud of Hugo, who is one of our own,” said Local 11 Executive Vice President Martha Santamaria. “He comes from humble beginnings and worked to organize his own hotel. He knows what it is to be a working person, and he will be an excellent voice for working families on Los Angeles’ City Council.”

“The hospitality industry is the backbone of Los Angeles’ economy – when the industry goes up, the workers’ livelihoods should go up, and the city’s economy goes up by extension,” said Co-President Kurt Petersen. “Local 11 members put on their masks and their sneakers this summer to gather over 110,000 signatures for a housekeeper ordinance that was passed into law this July at the same time as we campaigned for one of our own to get onto LA City Council.”

In Orange County, Worker Power and UNITE HERE Local 11 knocked on 80,000 doors across Anaheim and contacted over 14,000 voters with 50 cooks, housekeepers, dishwashers and servers on the ground. Our members in Orange County walked for Anaheim Mayor candidate Ashley Aitken, and council candidates Al Jabbar, Carlos Leon, and Orange County Board of Supervisor candidates Sunny Park and Vicente Sarmiento.

Anaheim, CA: “The citizens of Anaheim are sick of corruption in city politics, and we heard that over and over again as we knocked on their doors,” said Campaign Director Austin Lynch, Worker Power and UNITE HERE Local 11. “People are ready for politicians who will fight for them, like Ashley Aitken, Al Jabbar and Carlos Leon.”


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.
Worker Power is a multi-racial, multi-generational organization that uses union organizing tactics and community-driven electoral campaigns to fight for economic, social, and immigrant justice

STRIKE ALERT: Pomona College Dining Hall Workers Walk Out on Strike During Family Weekend

Workers Demand that Prestigious College Pay a Living Wage

Pomona, CA: Following stagnant negotiations with Pomona College, at 6 am this morning, dozens of dining hall workers at Pomona College walked out on strike as Family Weekend begins.

The workers’ primary contract demand is a significant raise to keep pace with the soaring cost of living. The MIT Living Wage Calculator estimates that a living wage for a family of four with two working adults in Los Angeles County is $30.73 an hour.  Some dining hall employees, the overwhelmingly majority of whom are people of color, earn $18.00 an hour.

“ I am on strike because I deserve to provide for my family, the same way I care for Pomona’s wonderful  students. As a skilled worker at Pomona College, my profession contributes to the health and wellness of the students and the college’s overall success.” said Marie O’Campo, baker of 8 years at Pomona College.

Pomona College has been ranked consistently among the country’s most prestigious colleges and universities. Dining hall workers at similar prestigious universities such as Yale University and Wesleyan College earn more than $30.00 an hour.

Pomona College’s $3 billion endowment is the 7th highest among all U.S. universities and colleges – ahead of Yale and Wesleyan – on a per student basis. Earlier this fall, Pomona opened a $57 million new athletic facility.

“I am striking because I want more for myself and for my family. There are employees that have been working here for 30 years or more and they deserve more. I hope to one day be able to make enough to buy a house,” said Hector Melendrez, who earns $18.00 an hour as a utility worker.

“Pomona College has failed to meet the workers’ demands. They have chosen to take a brave step, and we hope the college will finally listen to their concerns and give them the living wage they deserve,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11

Dodger Stadium Workers Vote 98% To Ratify Historic Union Contract During MLB Playoffs

Los Angeles — Stand workers hit it out of the park, win over $13 in raises and guaranteed tips Los Angeles: As the Los Angeles Dodgers begin game two of the MLB division playoffs, concession stadium workers who staff the food and beverage  stands at Dodger Stadium voted 98% in favor of ratifying a historic union contract with the concessions giants at the stadium: Compass Group and Levy Restaurants.

Dodger stadium concessions workers voted to strike if needed ahead of this year’s MLB All-Star Game. Following positive negotiations since then, Compass/Levy workers at Dodger Stadium are proud to announce that over 75% of workers will earn more than 30 dollars an hour by the end of their new contract. Some employees—including stand workers, dishwashers, and cooks—will see increases of more than $13 an hour. Workers also won additional pay in recognition of service during COVID-19 and increased funding for their pensions and healthcare.

“This is a historic day for Dodger Stadium workers. As the team goes on to play for the top prize in baseball, the workers who serve the food and pour the drinks have also won. These workers will now earn wages where they can support a family,” said Susan Minato, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11

“With these new raises, I will finally be able to afford an apartment of my own, instead of sharing a room. This contract will change my life,” said Cheryl Angustain, who has worked four seasons in concessions for Compass/Levy at Dodger Stadium.

“My family and I bleed blue. We are proud to work at Dodger Stadium to give the fans the experience they have come to expect. This new contract makes us feel like champions!,” said Sylvia Sosa, a bartender for Compass/Levy who has worked 46 seasons at Dodger Stadium. 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.

UNITE HERE Local 11 Endorses Christy Smith for Congress

Smith pledges to fight for hospitality workers and to hold large corporations accountable for abuse of the Paycheck Protection Program

Panorama City, Calif.—UNITE HERE Local 11 is proud to endorse Christy Smith for California’s 27th Congressional District in a competitive, must-win race for Democrats. In the California State Assembly, Smith has authored bills focusing on education reform, homeowner protections and college affordability.

Smith is a pro-choice champion that will focus on protecting reproductive rights, tackling climate change and creating an equitable economy that works for everyone. Her opponent, Trump Republican Mike Garcia, voted against the certification of electoral votes in Pennsylvania and Arizona that helped cement Joe Biden’s presidential victory, opposed the impeachment of President Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, stood against legalizing Dreamers and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and cosponsored legislation that would effectively ban all abortion and some forms of birth control.

Garcia is the wrong candidate for hospitality workers and the wrong candidate for Northern Los Angeles County. In May 2020, Garcia helped block the bipartisan TRUTH Act, which would have ensured greater transparency regarding how Paycheck Protection Program funds are allocated and made sure funds get to the small businesses for which they are intended. Over two years later, although National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that only 23% to 34% of the $800 billion in PPP funds went to workers who would have otherwise lost their jobs, taxpayers are still waiting for the Small Business Administration to disclose how borrowers claim to have spent their loans in loan forgiveness applications.

The Chair of the Biden Administration’s Pandemic Response Accountability Committee said it wouldn’t surprise him if there was over $100 billion in fraudulent pandemic aid and the head of the SBA’s Office of Inspector General said billions in pandemic fraud will take 100 years of work to investigate.

Garcia campaign donor and fellow Trump supporter Paul Reed is Chairman of hotel and golf course firm JC Resorts, a company that should be a high priority for investigation. The Los Serranos Golf Club operated by JC Resorts received $1.5 million in PPP loans, but JC Resorts appears to be over the threshold for PPP eligibility; one business analytics company estimates JC Resorts’ total number of employees to be 1200 and its annual sales to be $70.5 million.

We can’t count on Mike Garcia to investigate whether wealthy hospitality firms like JC Resorts improperly took PPP loans meant for real small businesses or to push for greater transparency and oversight of trillions in Covid relief.

Christy Smith will help taxpayers and workers get to the bottom of PPP fraud, and has what it takes to beat Mike Garcia.