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.

STATEMENT: LA Forward, UNITE HERE Local 11, and Coalition Partners Congratulates Nithya Raman on Her Re-Election


LA Forward, UNITE HERE Local 11, and Coalition Partners Congratulates Nithya Raman on Her Re-Election

The “Neighbors Supporting Nithya Raman for City Council” and “Worker Power for Nithya Raman for City Council” Committees played a critical role in delivering victory.

Los Angeles, CA — “Neighbors Supporting Nithya Raman for City Council, sponsored by LA Forward” and “Worker Power for Nithya Raman for City Council, sponsored by UNITE HERE Local 11” congratulate Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman on her outright re-election victory. Earning more than 50% of the votes cast, Councilmember Raman exceeded the threshold needed to secure a second term on the LA City Council.

LA Forward and UNITE HERE Local 11 brought together a coalition of workers and renters advocates to support Councilmember Raman with two Independent Expenditure committees and to fight back against the real estate moguls and corporate landlords, who spent millions trying to defeat her. Coalition partners included UFCW Local 770, Teamsters 396, SEIU USWW, SEIU Local 2015, SEIU Local 721, Engineers & Architects Association, NUHW, California Working Families Party, Smart Justice California, and LA League of Conservation Voters.

“We did what we do best: hit the pavement and got out the vote, knocking on 27,600 doors and talking to over 4,600 voters,” said Maria Teresa Alvarez, member of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Whether risking arrest to support LAX area workers fighting for a living wage, or walking the strike line during the biggest hotel worker strike in modern U.S history, Councilmember Raman has always shown up and delivered for us and all working families.”

“As working families and tenants’ rights advocates, we came together to ensure that the voters knew about Councilmember Raman’s successful track record of delivering real results on homelessness, renters’ rights, climate change, and good government reforms. With the seven mailers we sent out, we are proud to have played a part in ensuring that she will be able to continue her bold leadership for progressive solutions on the City Council,” stated David Levitus, Executive Director of LA Forward.

“Corporate-funded Independent Expenditure committees spent over a million dollars to flood voters with negative ads distorting Raman’s record in an effort to unseat a champion for Los Angeles working families. We were heavily outspent, but our members’ tenacity helped put Nithya on the path to victory,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president UNITE HERE Local 11.


LA Forward is a community organization fighting for policies that will make Los Angeles County a fair, flourishing place for everyone. LA Forward is member-driven 501(c)(4) nonprofit seeking to fulfill the promise of democracy and ensure Angelenos have the knowledge, skills, and relationships to advance justice across a wide range of issues — affordable housing, climate justice, a fair economy, good government, and more. 

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


Sheraton Park Anaheim employee Margarita Virrueta de Garibay poses in front of a purple fist painted to honor International Women's Day

PRESS RELEASE: Aimbridge Hospitality Slammed With Sexual Harassment Complaints

Workers file state complaints, gather to protest company’s alleged failure to prevent harassment

Dozens of hotel workers gather in the lobby of the Sheraton Park Anaheim hotel in front of a purple fist painted in honor of International Women's Day

Anaheim, Calif.: Three women workers from the Aimbridge Hospitality-operated Sheraton Park Anaheim each submitted complaints to the California Civil Rights Department today, alleging that their employer failed to respond properly to their complaints of repeated sexual harassment. The complaints come on the heels of hotel workers calling for a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality, dubbed “Shamebridge.”

Worker Jenny Hong alleged in her letter that for almost six months, she faced nearly daily sexual harassment from a coworker who made unwanted comments on her appearance, physically grabbed her, and caused her intense anxiety at work. Worker Margarita Virrueta de Garibay separately alleged that the same coworker subjected her to sexually suggestive comments and unsolicited “massages.” Hong and a third woman reported the coworker’s conduct to the hotel’s human resources department, but both women allege that the company has done little to protect them from ongoing harassment.

“I am choosing to break my silence now because no woman should experience abuse in the workplace.” says Virrueta de Garibay. “I want to ensure that future generations of women, everywhere, feel safe and comfortable where they work.

Sheraton Park Anaheim employee Margarita Virrueta de Garibay poses in front of a purple fist painted to honor International Women's Day

Two weeks ago, another woman worker at an Aimbridge-operated hotel complained that she was fired from the Hampton Inn Santa Monica after reporting near-daily harassment. Maritza Villeda also submitted a letter to the Civil Rights Department in which she reported that a coworker verbally threatened her repeatedly, including aggressively calling her a “fucking bitch.” Villeda alleged that after she complained to hotel management at least five times over several weeks, the hotel failed to respond appropriately to her complaints and instead retaliated against her by terminating her.

“It is shameful that these hotel workers brought their complaints to management and were reportedly met with indifference,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Aimbridge Hospitality continues to show how little it cares for its employees.”

At yet a third hotel, the San Pedro Doubletree, which was operated by Aimbridge until it was replaced earlier this year, workers have filed a pending class action lawsuit against an Aimbridge subsidiary alleging violations of the panic button and other worker safety provisions of the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance. A primary purpose of this ordinance is to help protect workers from sexual assault in the workplace.

These charges of disregard for worker safety suggest an ongoing pattern of Aimbridge’s failure to protect its workers. The California Labor Commissioner and Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón are currently investigating allegations of the exploitation of unhoused migrant workers at other Aimbridge properties in Southern California. Two additional Aimbridge-operated hotels face pending federal unfair labor practice allegations that managers unlawfully interfered with the rights of employees to engage in union or other protected activity.

The submission of these complaints takes place days before the Natural Products Expo West descends on Anaheim. Hotel workers have told event organizers to anticipate picketing and disruptions as they continue to fight for safe working conditions. Aimbridge Hospitality, the third-largest hotel operator in the world, operates a dozen hotels in Orange County.

PRESS RELEASE: Boycott of Hotel Figueroa and Restaurant Operator, The Botanical Group, Declared Following Firings, Shootings, and Unsettled Labor Dispute; Letter Signed by Hundreds Delivered

LOS ANGELES:  UNITE HERE Local 11 and dozens of workers and clergy leaders from CLUE held a press conference calling for a boycott of the Hotel Figueroa and The Botanical Group, which is the newest restaurant operator, on Thursday.  The worker-called boycott marks a significant escalation in a months-long labor dispute that began last July.

“I’m calling for a boycott of the hotel because our jobs are very difficult, and the company’s response to our strike and their failure to sign a fair contract has shown that they don’t value or respect us,” said Noelia Gonzales, room attendant at the Figueroa Hotel.

The hotel’s workers, who have been protesting and striking for wages enabling them to afford to live in Los Angeles amid soaring housing costs, have faced violence on the picket line.  During a strike in January, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, workers were fired upon by a sniper, apparently using an air rifle, with large metal ball bearings.  They have taken to wearing bullet proof vests and helmets on the picket lines.  The unknown assailant remains at large.

“I was shot twice with metal ball bearings from across the street while on strike with my coworkers. I was hit on my neck and feet. We do not deserve to risk our safety simply because we are advocating for ourselves. I want there to be justice, and for the violence that we endured to not go unnoticed, that is why we are calling for a boycott,” said Felix Vanegas, houseman at the Figueroa Hotel.

Making matters even worse, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, more than one hundred food and beverage workers were fired in February by the hotel’s former food and beverage operator after workers began an effort to unionize.  After a brief closure, a new operator reopened the Cafe Fig and other outlets, but without the workers who had staffed the restaurant for years.  UNITE HERE Local 11 has requested that the Office of Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto investigate potential violations of Los Angeles’s Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance.

Workers and community allies delivered a letter signed by nearly 500  people demanding that the hotel bring back the “Figueroa 100.” Workers are calling for tourists and visitors to choose alternatives for any travel and events until all of the workers have won the dignity and respect they deserve and the fired restaurant workers are returned to work.

“We denounce the violence picketing workers have endured with metal ball pellets shot at them while on strike and we demand the hotel bring back the Figueroa 100. Why should workers have to be out in the street subjecting themselves to this kind of violence-literally picketing in bulletproof vests, helmets, and goggles?  It should not take this kind of bravery to simply get a company to pay wages that workers can live on.  You cannot treat people like this,” said Ada Briceño, co-president UNITE HERE Local 11.

Joining the workers was Reverend Edgar Colon of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, “CLUE will join the boycott of this establishment, and will neither eat, meet, sleep or gather here until the issues that the workers have laid out have been resolved.

Hotel worker stands up against sexual harassment

PRESS RELEASE: Women Leaders Rise Up in Support of SaMo Hotel Worker Filing Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Aimbridge-Operated Property

Santa Monicans gather to support women hotel workers standing up against sexual harassment

Santa Monica, Calif.: Days before the Film Independent Spirit Awards take place in Santa Monica, prominent women leaders from CLUE, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Program for Torture Victims joined silence breakers to rally and picket outside the Hampton Inn Santa Monica. They expressed support for hotel worker Maritza Villeda, who submitted a complaint to the California Civil Rights Department alleging that her employer, the Aimbridge Hospitality-operated Hampton Inn Santa Monica, failed to respond properly to her complaints of sexual harassment by a coworker and instead terminated her.

In a letter to the California Civil Rights Department, long-time Aimbridge employee Villeda alleged that a valet employee repeatedly verbally threatened her at work, including by aggressively calling her a “fucking bitch.” In her letter, Villeda alleges that the verbal threats and sexist slurs continued on a near-daily basis for over six weeks, even though she reported the behavior to the general manager on multiple occasions. She alleges that the hotel failed to respond appropriately to her complaints of harassment, and that instead, the hotel retaliated against her by terminating her.

Hotel worker stands up against sexual harassment

Hotel workers have a long history of fighting for protections against assault in Santa Monica, and fought in 2018 to pass laws that then expanded across to multiple cities.

Workers at the Hampton Inn Santa Monica are part of dozens of other hotel workers who have been fighting for a fair contract since July 2023. There is currently a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality.

“Women’s rights are civil rights and we must protect them! SLCL is proud to stand with Maritza and her coworkers,” said Reverend Thembekila Smart of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California.

BREAKING NEWS: Five Hotels – Sofitel, 2 Hyatts in Long Beach, Hyatt Andaz, Hyatt Shay – Sign Tentative Agreements with UNITE HERE Local 11, Raising Total to 34 Hotels

Los Angeles, CA: Hundreds of workers – including those at the Sofitel, Hyatt Shay in Culver City, Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Hyatt Centric The Pike Long Beach, and Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood – are the latest to win tentative agreements in the largest hotel strike in U.S. history.  Workers have struck more than 130 times since contracts expired last July.

Once the contract is ratified, the workers will enjoy the same extraordinary standard achieved in the previous tentative agreements, including:

  • Unprecedented wage increases that keep pace with the soaring cost of housing
  • Affordable, excellent family healthcare
  • Humane workloads and safe staffing
  • Improved pension increases so that workers can retire with dignity
  • Language improvements, including Equal Justice language that, among other things, will help to provide access to union jobs for formerly incarcerated individuals and unprecedented protections for immigrant workers

Thirty-four hotels have reached tentative agreements with UNITE HERE Local 11. Private-equity owned Aimbridge Hospitality (Hyatt Regency LAX, Holiday Inn LAX,  Doubletree DTLA, Hampton Inn Santa Monica, Courtyard Santa Monica, Sheraton Park Anaheim) continues to resist their workers’ demands. Workers have called a boycott – Shamebridge – which has resulted in Aimbridge losing operating contracts at two LA hotels.

“My coworkers and I stuck together until we won what we deserved. We will keep fighting alongside our sisters and brothers at the Hotel Maya, Hyatt Regency LAX and others until they win too!” said Morena Hernandez, housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood.

“We applaud Hyatt and Sofitel for recognizing that their workers are essential to their success,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Our members have never once faltered in this fight to win a wage that allows them to live near where they work.  They have overcome intimidation, violence, and nothing will stop them until all hotels – including those run by private equity behemoths – sign this agreement.”

PRE-GRAMMY PARTY: Rat Allegations Soil Influencer Favorite W Hollywood Hotel

Los Angeles–Dozens of cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents from across the LA area will stage an action outside of the Sky Terrace at W Hollywood. Workers and supporters will wear rat costumes and related props while the restaurant’s soft launch takes place.

The action will draw attention to workers’ allegations, as reported in the LA Times last December, that they have repeatedly observed what appeared to be rats in the dry food storage room of the Hotel’s basement and on the building’s rooftop Sky Terrace restaurant, both operated by Mosaic. Workers documented alleged rodent sightings as recently as mid-October of 2023. Concerned for their health and safety, workers submitted a complaint to Cal/OSHA on November 16, 2023 and requested that their employer take action. The complaint with Cal/OSHA remains pending investigation.

The Sky Terrace is located on the rooftop of the W Hotel building. Both the W Hollywood Hotel, operated by Marriott, and Sky Terrace, operated by Mosaic, have been embroiled in protracted labor disputes with their employees since union contract expired last summer. The Sky Terrace is also the subject of pending unfair labor practice charges filed by workers after the restaurant fired eight employees who had participated in the campaign for improved wages and working conditions.

Workers across Los Angeles hotels have been in an ongoing labor dispute with hotel employers since July, fighting for better wages and working conditions in what has become the largest hotel worker strike in modern history. The workers’ primary contract goals include wage increases to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing in Los Angeles, quality and affordable health insurance, a pension to retire with dignity, and humane workloads.

The W Hollywood building is owned by private equity firms Oaktree Capital Management and Trinity Investments. Los Angeles-based Oaktree, which has $189 billion under management, states on its website that “Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) considerations directly and materially impact investment outcomes,” but has failed to resolve the escalating labor disputes at the W Hollywood and Sky Terrace.

PRESS RELEASE: With New Hotel License Requirement Looming, UNITE HERE Local 11 Raises Alleged Worker Rights Violations at Carpenters Union Fund-Owned Hyatt Regency LAX with LA Police Commission

Los Angeles: The Carpenters pension fund-owned Hyatt Regency LAX may be at risk of being unable to obtain an operating license required by the Los Angeles Responsible Hotels Ordinance.  The hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 11, has sent a letter to the Los Angeles Police Commission to inform it of allegations of worker rights violations at the Hyatt Regency LAX, which is owned by the Southwest Carpenters Pension Fund.

The Hyatt Regency LAX is owned by the Southwest Carpenters Pension Fund, and the trustees of this pension fund include leaders of the Carpenters Union. The hotel is operated by Aimbridge Hospitality. The occupy action comes on the heels of UNITE HERE Local 11’s call for a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality properties in Southern California, which includes the Hyatt Regency LAX, among others, known as “Shamebridge”.

The Police Commission is responsible for considering license applications from hotel operators under the Ordinance’s new hotel permitting scheme. Permits may be denied based on findings of violations of worker rights.

Housekeeping workers at the Hyatt Regency LAX have alleged that the Hotel is not in compliance with the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance, which is among the “local employment laws” that employers must comply with in order to obtain an operating permit under the new licensing regime. In particular, workers have alleged that the Hotel is not complying with the workload provisions of the Ordinance, which ensure fair pay for burdensome workloads. Room attendants report that, with room quotas of 14 rooms a day, they believe they regularly clean more than 3,500 square feet per shift but are not paid the double pay the Ordinance requires of hotels that assign such heavy workloads.

The letters asked the Board of Police Commissioners to consider the alleged noncompliance with the Ordinance and to monitor any potential investigations or claims into consideration in evaluating the permit applications of the hotel.

Workers across Los Angeles hotels have been in an ongoing labor dispute with hotel employers since July, and while numerous tentative contract agreements have been reached across Los Angeles and Orange County since November, Hyatt Regency LAX and Aimbridge Hospitality have consistently refused to meet the new hotel contract standards.

The workers’ primary contract goals include wage increases to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing in Los Angeles, quality and affordable health insurance, a pension to retire with dignity, and humane workloads. Workers are demanding that Aimbridge and the Hyatt-operated properties sign the standard-setting agreement, which 30 other hotels across the region have agreed to.

Two hotel workers stand 10 feet apart to display a large red vinyl banner with the SHAMEBridge logo

PRESS RELEASE: As UNITE HERE Local 11 Launches “Shamebridge” Boycott, Aimbridge Hospitality Loses Second Operating Agreement at LA Hotel

DoubleTree San Pedro follows Le Merigot’s lead and parts ways with Aimbridge

Los Angeles: On the first day of the American Lodging and Investment Summit, UNITE HERE Local 11 members announced a boycott of Aimbridge Hospitality, the largest third-party hotel operator in the world, until the company agrees to sign a fair contract at its union properties in Southern California.

During the same week, on January 25, the Union received notification from the ownership of the DoubleTree property in San Pedro that effective February 19, Remington Hospitality would become the operator at the hotel. This follows Aimbridge’s loss of an operator role at another major hotel in the area–the Le Merigot Santa Monica–last August.

Dubbed “Shamebridge” by its employees, Aimbridge has been embroiled in controversy since the beginning of the Southern California hotel strike. Among other developments, last October, housekeepers at the San Pedro DoubleTree – the same hotel that has just terminated its agreement with Aimbridge – filed a class-action lawsuit against a subsidiary of the operator alleging violations of panic buttons and other worker safety provisions of the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance.

Two activists stand on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk holding a 10-foot wide red banner with the coinage "SHAMEBridge" printed on it

Aimbridge’s business model and practices have also drawn critical attention. Following private equity firm Advent International’s 2019 acquisition of Aimbridge, industry analysts and credit ratings agencies have expressed concerns about C-suite turnover, overly-aggressive growth and credit. In November 2023, Baron Ah Moo, U.S. managing director for PKF Hospitality Group suggested, “There is pressure on the third-party management fee model from all sides (brands, competition in the space, and the market economy) and Aimbridge, with an eye on a liquidity event (public sale/IPO), may have overextended itself to spur that aggressive growth.” Hotel Investment Today further reported that “[t]here have also been rumblings about weaker performance at Aimbridge as it focused on growth, as well as owners looking for smaller, third-party firms to get more individual attention from their operator. With rumors like that swirling, change is not an unexpected outcome.”