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HONOR THE BOYCOTTS

Multiple Unions Vow Financial Support for Hotel Worker Strike

Broad labor movement support raises possibility of prolonged conflict

Los Angeles – California unions announced their pledge of financial support for hotel workers who have been leading the largest wave of hotel strikes in modern history.  Collectively, the unions pledging support represent 2.1 million workers.

“At this moment when workers of practically every industry are coming together to take a stand, we as union leaders can do no less,” said Yvonne Wheeler, the President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “I am proud that our union sisters and brothers have come together to pool our resources to back each other up.”

The coalition of unions includes the California Federation of Labor, California Teachers Association, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, UFCW 770, UFCW Local 324, SEIU USWW, California State Firefighters’ Association, and IBEW Local 11. All of them have pledged the following:

“We will back UNITE HERE Local 11’s strikes financially and otherwise until they win. Securing living wages and financial security for working people remains forever and always our number one priority. When we fight together, we win for everyone.”

Lorena Fletcher Gonzalez, the Executive Secretary Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, stated: “The labor movement membership in California is one of the largest in the world, and when we stand together we can match the strength and resources of any corporation.  This is how we win strikes – through the power of our solidarity.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen praised the move, stating: “We hear from the hotel companies that they think striking workers will have to cave because they don’t have the same financial resources as the multi-billion dollar companies who are enjoying record profits. The pledge to back us up takes that power away from them. The bosses always underestimate the power of their workers and the labor movement.”

SoCal Hotel Workers Call for Boycott of Three Properties Following Employer Violence

Southern California: Hotel workers at the Hotel Maya in Long BeachLaguna Cliffs Marriott Dana Point, and Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica are calling for a boycott because of management’s use or condoning of violence during the largest hotel strike in U.S. history. The boycott announcement comes as conventions, such as the American Political Science Association, arrive in the region.

“I was punched in the face while peacefully protesting for a living wage, and hotel security and management not only did nothing to stop the violence, but actually participated in it by trying to forcibly relocate our picket line using a chain link fence. I don’t have health insurance and now on top of worrying about my bills, I have to figure out how to pay my medical expenses,” said Carlos Cheverri Canalés. “I ask the public to not spend a single penny at the Hotel Maya until they commit to paying a fair wage and ending violence against strikers.”

“For 38 years I have welcomed guests into Santa Monica, but the moment I stood up for a better life for me and my family, security tackled me to the ground while we were trying to establish a picket line in front of the hotel.” said German Martinez, dishwasher at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica. “My legs and arms may be bruised, but my will to keep going is not. That’s why I am calling for a boycott.”

While picketing, Emilse Pineda was punched in the head by a guest at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Dana Point. “I was in shock as the punch came out of the blue,” recalls the housekeeper. “I reported the incident to hotel security, but they did nothing to help identify the man or remove him. I felt almost drunk and woozy and had headaches over the next several days. The day after the punch, I passed out and the paramedics were called. As far as I know, the hotel has done nothing about this incident.”

Last week,  UNITE HERE Local 11 filed a federal unfair labor practice charge against these hotels and the hotel industry’s bargaining group, the Coordinated Bargaining Group, alleging that the group of employers have interfered with their employees’ right to organize by unlawfully committing and/or condoning violence against employees in response to strike and picket activity, in particular at the Hotel Maya, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, and the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point. The Westin Bonaventure has come to an agreement, leaving 60 hotels with open contracts.

Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11 adds, “Our members have taken the step to ask the public not to ‘eat, sleep, or meet’ at the three hotels – Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, Maya Hotel in Long Beach and Laguna Cliffs Marriott – where hotels used or condoned violence to stop workers from fighting for wages that will enable them to live in the community where they work. We will not be intimidated at the bargaining table or the picket line.”

Striking Hotel Workers Denounce Company Violence on Picket Lines; Hundreds to Rally in DTLA

Los Angeles: Hundreds of striking hotel workers will picket and rally at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown and announce the filing of an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the hotel industry’s Coordinated Bargaining Group, which represents a majority of LA’s unionized hotel employers, including Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, and Marriott.

The mass action and announcement of legal filing will denounce a pattern of ugly episodes of violence on picket lines at hotels where workers have been on strike. On Saturday, striking hotel workers led a peaceful march through Santa Monica that ended at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, where the workers and supporters were attacked and tackled to the ground by hotel security as they sought to establish a picket line. Video of the violent episode has gone viral.

Another violent episode occurred on Saturday in Long Beach. Hotel security personnel including a manager at the Maya Hotel sought to forcibly relocate striking workers using a chain link fence while a guest ran around the fence and punched a worker in the head, pushing at least two others.

At the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Dana Point, which is owned by the University of California Retirement Fund and operated by Aimbridge, workers have been repeatedly assaulted,   threatened and had property destroyed.  The Union alleges that hotel security personnel have failed to assist the Union in identifying guests who have engaged in such conduct, and, in one instance, a hotel security leader allegedly told a guest who had threatened to assault workers that the guest should do what he wanted to do and that the security head would testify on the guest’s behalf.

Last week, John Tesar, the “celebrity chef” behind the Laguna Cliffs’ Knife Modern Steak restaurant, approached striking workers and broke a drum one of the workers was holding.  He then told the striking workers:  “Take your union and shove it up your ass.  Suck my d___.  You are a bad person. … You’re a lazy pendeja.” While Aimbridge has claimed that Tesar “has been removed from the property while we continue to investigate this incident,” his relationship to the hotel remains uncertain and, as far as the Union is aware, there have been no consequences for any company personnel or guests for the threatening and violent conduct perpetrated against the workers.

Thousands of workers continue to strike at hotels in or around West Hollywood, LAX, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Long Beach. In total, workers at 46 hotels across LA and Orange Counties have struck in the last month in the largest hotel strike in California history.

Workers are calling on the industry to follow the lead of the Westin Bonaventure, which has reached a tentative agreement that includes a living wage that will enable workers to afford to live in the cities where they work. Yet, rather than agree to provide workers the wages and benefits they are calling for, the hotel industry has tried to curtail workers’ ability to protest and in some cases condoned violence against them, even as the hotels charge top dollar for rooms during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour six-day run at SoFi Stadium.

Hotel Housekeepers Ask Taylor Swift to Postpone L.A. Eras Tour Unless Hotels Pay a Living Wage

Los Angeles, CA: A week before her Eras Tour hits Los Angeles, dozens of hotel housekeepers published an open letter to Taylor Swift in the Los Angeles Times, asking her to support their fight for a wage that allows them to live in the city where they work. Hotels are expected to reap enormous profits from the “Swift Lift,” which has been compared to multiple consecutive Super Bowls in light of its economic benefits for the hospitality industry.

Housekeepers are asking Swift to postpone her six scheduled concerts in Los Angeles until they are paid a living wage. Earlier this week, Snoop Dogg canceled his upcoming concert at the Hollywood Bowl in solidarity with striking writers and actors.

The letter also points to some unexpected commonalities between hotel housekeepers and megastar Swift, comparing their fight against the hotel industry’s use of “junk fees”–extra charges that are tacked onto room rates that benefit companies, not workers–to Swift’s crusade against Ticketmaster adding junk fees to her fans’ concert tickets. As a staunch advocate for empowering women, Swift even shared the pages of TIME Magazine’s 2017 “Silence Breakers” issue with two hotel workers from Los Angeles who had also spoken out against sexual harassment.

Now, hotel housekeepers are asking for her support as they fight for a living wage. Hotel workers have reported having to sleep in their cars between shifts. Many struggle to stay housed. This plight is shared by thousands of hotel workers across 43 hotels in the L.A. area who have gone on strike in the past month for living wages, healthcare and a pension. So far, only the Westin Bonaventure has reached a tentative agreement with the Union to pay a living wage that will enable workers to afford to live in the city where they work.

The Federal Reserve has reported that Swift’s Eras Tour has significantly boosted the hospitality industry in nearly every city she has performed in, raising hotel room rates by orders of magnitude. Currently, Swift is set to perform at SoFi Stadium on August 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9.The ongoing hotel worker labor unrest in Los Angeles has caused groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, the Japanese American Citizens League, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Vanderpump Rules to cancel their events.

Beverly Hills Hotel Workers Strike, 3rd Wave Grows

Beverly Hills, CA: The 3rd wave of the nation’s largest hotel strike expands to Beverly Hills as more than 1,000 more cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out this morning.

Jovani Ramirez, a cook who works at both the Beverly Hilton and Fairmont Century Plaza and commutes from Santa Clarita said, “I am going on strike because I work two full time jobs to provide for my 4 children. I need free family healthcare because my youngest son is autistic.  It is morally wrong that I work 16 hours a day in our most prosperous industry but cannot afford to live in Los Angeles.”

“A room attendant at the Waldorf Astoria must work 60 hours to earn enough to pay for one night at this ritzy hotel,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local. 11.  “Yet the hotel’s last offer did not add one more penny for wages. Hilton could care less about whether their workers are able to afford to live in Los Angeles.”

Thousands of workers at 43 hotels have struck so far.   But only the Westin Bonaventure has reached a tentative agreement that includes a living wage that will enable workers to afford to live in the city where they work.

Last week, the hotel industry led by Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott, presented a new economic proposal that did not have one penny more for wages, pension or healthcare.

The ongoing labor unrest has caused groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, Japanese American Citizens League, W.K Kellogg Foundation and Vanderpump Rules to cancel their events.

The union’s bargaining committee sent a letter to the American Political Science Association requesting that the 6000 person organization cancel its Annual Meeting & Exhibition, which is set to take place on August 31 to September 3, 2022 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Third Wave of SoCal Hotel Strikes Hit Hollywood After Industry Proposes Not One Penny More

Southern California: After the hotel industry led by Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott, presented a new economic proposal that did not have one penny more for wages, pension or healthcare, thousands of cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out this morning as part of the largest multi-hotel strike in California history.

This is the third in a wave of strikes in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. So far, of the 60 properties with nearly 15,000 hotel workers whose contracts expired at the end of June, only the Westin Bonaventure has reached an agreement with UNITE HERE Local 11 that includes a living wage that will allow workers to afford to live in the city where they work.

The ongoing labor unrest has caused groups such as the Democratic Governors Association, Japanese American Citizens League, W.K Kellogg Foundation and Vanderpump Rules to cancel or move their events.

Yesterday, the bargaining committee sent a letter to the American Political Science Association requesting that the organization cancel its Annual Meeting & Exhibition, which is set to take place on August 31 to September 3, 2022 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  More than 6,000 political science professors are expected to attend this citywide conference.

Morena Hernandez, housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz said, “I have given decades of my life to this hotel and they have done nothing but take advantage of us. If they really valued our work, they would pay us what we needed to be able to live near where we work. Instead they insult us with their proposals.”

Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11 said, “Just when you thought it was not possible, the hotels hit a new low in greed and cruelty.  Their last proposal would make Ebenezer Scrooge envious and would result in a wave of evictions for hotel workers.  Not a penny more for wages, pension or healthcare.  Workers cannot afford to pay rent; meanwhile, a room at the Waldorf Astoria clocks in at $1400. Their greed has forced workers to walk out again to win a wage that allows them to live in LA.”

Picketing and Leafleting Continue as Hotel Workers Return to Work After Second Wave of Strikes

More hotel worker actions on the horizon as entertainment industry strike grows

Southern California: As labor strife consumes the region, thousands of hotel workers at 12 hotels in Los Angeles and Orange County return to work today.   

The pandemic destroyed the regions’ most important industries, tourism and entertainment, as most actors, writers, and hotel workers lost their jobs overnight. Meanwhile the employers profited from the pandemic by taking billions of dollars in subsidies and forcing workers to work more for less. Workers are rising up together to demand a living wage that allows them to live in the city in which they work.  

Negotiations resume on Tuesday, June 18th. More strikes and other actions by hotel workers could take place at any time. 

“Since reopening after the pandemic, hotels began to eliminate daily room cleaning. Our workloads have become brutal and take an even bigger toll on us,” says Rosa Paz, housekeeper for 23 years at the Hilton Anaheim. “We went on strike because we work really hard and deserve better. Through the strike workers from all the hotels are more united than ever. We are ready for anything, inside, outside, at the negotiating table, and won’t settle for less than we deserve.”

Yesenia Reyes, housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency LAX which is owned by the Southwest Carpenters Pension Trust, the pension fund of the Southwest Carpenters’ union says, “I feel more empowered now than ever to continue fighting for a good contract.” She continued, “As a single mom, I rarely get to see my six kids because I work two full time jobs to pay my $2,000 rent and keep up with other expenses.”

“Thousands of workers at 33 hotels from Downtown Los Angeles to LAX to Orange County have participated in the largest hotel worker strike in California history,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President UNITE HERE Local 11. “Our city has reached a tipping point. The wealthy continue to live in luxury while workers, from actors and writers to room attendants and servers, live from one paycheck to the next. This fight is ultimately about whether those who make LA prosperous and beautiful will be able to afford to live in LA.”