UNITE HERE Local 11 Housekeepers Submit 100k Signatures on Groundbreaking Initiative to City of Los Angeles

Initiative would follow lead of neighboring cities to mandate panic buttons  and raise minimum wage for hotel workers

Los Angeles – Over one hundred housekeepers and other hospitality workers today turned in the petitions they have collected since late January to qualify their initiative for the November 2022 ballot. The initiative mirrors protections they have secured in Long Beach, Santa Monica and most recently West Hollywood.

“I am one of thousands of housekeepers in Los Angeles who will finally have panic buttons and other protections on the job”, said Martha Moran, a laid off housekeeper from the storied Chateau Marmont. “My coworkers and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and to receive fair compensation for the work we do. This initiative provides those things.”

Over one hundred thousand Angelenos have signed on to the measure that provides:

  • Panic buttons and other security measures to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and threatening conduct
  • Fair compensation for heavy workloads
  • Automatic daily room cleaning throughout the industry
  • Expansion of minimum wage law for hotel workers
    “My heart is always with the workers, like my mother, who worked her fingers to the bone,” said Councilman Kevin De Leon. “The hard-working immigrant women and men who make up the hospitality industry in our city are the backbone of our economy and I’m proud to stand with them today as they submit their historic initiative petition. I’m ready to work with my colleagues on the L.A. City Council to transform this initiative into law. The people have spoken, and it’s our job to listen.”

“Even though I don’t work at a hotel, I understand that raising the standards for some of the lowest paid workers in the hospitality industry will bring up standards for all of us,” said Isha Kallay, food server from the Hollywood Park and Casino. “I wanted to collect signatures for this initiative because we need to stick together in order for all of us to get ahead.”

The housekeeping measure comes in response to the hotel industry’s attempt to cut labor costs and increase workloads by eliminating daily room cleaning during the pandemic. It also provides vital protections against sexual assault for housekeepers when cleaning guest rooms alone. The workers call on the Los Angeles City Council to outright adopt the law.

“The hotel industry has wanted to get rid of daily room cleaning for years, and the pandemic gave them the perfect excuse,” notes Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Angelenos have just shown the industry, led by the Chateau Marmont, that they see through the greedy pandemic profiteering tactics and stand with the housekeepers. I am hopeful that the Los Angeles City Council will do the same and outright adopt the ordinance. Los Angeles is a leading tourist destination; that should mean good jobs for Angelenos.”

Watch the entire press conference here
View more photos here

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BuzzFeed News: The Hospitality Industry Is Bouncing Back After A Year Of Devastation, But Will Its Workers Ever Recover?

BuzzFeed News: The Hospitality Industry Is Bouncing Back After A Year Of Devastation, But Will Its Workers Ever Recover?

For two decades, Keisha Banks had worked on and off in the hospitality industry — until last year, when she was unceremoniously let go from her job as an event server at the Chateau Marmont via a mass email sent in March 2020 to employees of the iconic Hollywood hotel.

“When you work at Chateau, one of the things they say is, ‘We’re all like family here,’” Banks said. “And then to get this really blunt, ‘You’re cut off’ email was bad.”

It was the first in a streak of unfortunate events that has upended her life and the lives of many others like her.

Read more by Clarissa-Jan Lim on BuzzFeedNews.com

UPCOMING FOOD BANKS

UPCOMING FOOD BANKS

Mission Hills Food Distribution

  • Tuesday, May 11, 2021
  • 9:00 AM  12:00 PM
  • LIUNA Office
  • 14800 Devonshire Street, Los Angeles, CA, 91345
  • OPEN TO MEMBERS OF ANY UNION & THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY
  • Drive-thru distribution. Must wear face mask.

Carson Food Distribution

  • Friday, May 14, 2021
  • 11:00 AM  2:00 PM
  • Carson Community Center
  • 801 East Carson Street, Carson, CA, 90745
  • OPEN TO MEMBERS OF ANY UNION & THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY
  • Drive-thru distribution. Must wear face mask.

Painters Food Distribution

  • Saturday, May 15, 2021
  • 9:00 AM  12:00 PM
  • Painters Union
  • 1155 Corporate Center Drive, Monterey Park, CA, 91754
  • OPEN TO MEMBERS OF ANY UNION & THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY
  • Drive-thru distribution. Must wear face mask.

Paramount Food Distribution

  • Thursday, May 20, 2021
  • 9:00 AM  12:00 PM
  • Bianchi Theater
  • 7770 Rosecrans Avenue, Paramount, CA, 90723
  • OPEN TO MEMBERS OF ANY UNION & THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY
  • Drive-thru distribution. Must wear face mask.

West Covina Food Distribution

  • Saturday, May 22, 2021
  • 9:00 AM  12:00 PM
  • West Covina City Hall
  • 1444 West Garvey Avenue South West Covina, CA, 91790
  • OPEN TO MEMBERS OF ANY UNION & THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY
  • Drive-thru distribution. Must wear face mask

Maywood Food Distribution

  • Tuesday, May 25, 2021
  • 9:00 AM  12:00 pm
  • OPEN TO MEMBERS OF ANY UNION & THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY
  • Walk-up distribution. Must wear face mask. Please bring a cart to pick up food.

Rent Relief

EVICTION PROTECTION UNDER THE COVID-19 TENANT RELIEF ACT

The following is helpful information about renters’ rights and rental assistance. 

Am I entitled to protection from eviction under this law?

Yes, if the basis for the eviction is your failure to pay rent owed from March 2020 to June 30, 2021 due to “COVID-19-related financial distress.” 

Examples of “COVID-19-related financial distress” include: 

  1. Loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Increased out-of-pocket expenses directly related to performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  3. Increased expenses directly related to the health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  4. Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic that limit your ability to earn income;
  5. Increased costs for childcare or attending to an elderly, disabled, or sick family member directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  6. Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic that have reduced your income or increased your expenses. 

How do I qualify for this protection?

  • For protection from eviction through June 30, 2021, you MUST provide a written declaration to your landlord or property manager each month you are unable to pay rent due to a COVID-19 related loss. You can still send declarations for past months unless you have been served with a Fifteen Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. 
  • Make sure to specify the month covered by the declaration; keep a copy of the declaration; and keep proof that the declaration was submitted (e.g., certified mail or email). 
  • For protection from eviction at any time on the basis of unpaid rent for the time period from September 2020 through June 30, 2021, you MUST also pay the landlord 25% of the total rent due for the period on or before June 30, 2021.
  • Make sure to specify the rental period that the 25% payment covers (e.g., “25% for February 2021”); keep proof that you paid the rent (e.g., rent receipt); and keep proof that payment was made (e.g., certified mail).
  • Note that the remaining unpaid 75% of the rent owed for those months will remain collectible by the landlord through a small claims court proceeding starting August 1, 2021, unless the landlord receives funding for those months through the State Rental Assistance Program as described below.

What if I cannot afford to pay 25% of the total rent due for the period from September 2020 through June 2021 required to qualify for eviction protection?

The State Rental Assistance Program provides the following two options for rental assistance for rent owed from April 2020 through March 31, 2021:

  •  OPTION 1 — This option requires your landlord’s participation in the program. The program allows your landlord to apply for funds to compensate it for 80% of unpaid rent from April 2020 through March 31, 2021. If your landlord receives this funding, the amount of unpaid rent you owe for this time period will be deemed paid in full. 
  • OPTION 2 — If your landlord does not participate in the program, then you may apply directly to the program and can receive 25% of the rent owed from April 2020 to March 31, 2021 to pay your landlord.

What kind of rental assistance is available if you cannot afford to pay rent that will be due for the period from April 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021?

You may apply directly to the program for funds to cover 25% of the rent for the months of April, May, and June of 2021, but it will be subject to funding availability. Funding for payment of rent from April 2020 to March 2021 due will be given priority.

What do I need to know about applying for direct rental assistance? 

All tenants may apply regardless of immigration status. Tenants who have a household income that is not more than 80% of the area median income will be given priority.  

You will need to show proof of loss of income due to COVID-19, which may include any of the following:

  • A letter of termination from your job
  • Your most recent pay stub with employer’s information
  • Documentation showing that you have applied for unemployment benefits
  • Documentation showing that your unemployment benefits have expired, including unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act
  • For those self-employed: tax records, income statements, or other documentation showing loss of income
  • Other items will be considered

Where can I get more information about the State Rental Assistance Program? 

Call 833-422-4255 or visit https://landlordtenant.dre.ca.gov/ for more information on the California rental assistance program. The state program is already accepting applications.  You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible while funding is available.     

Apply for city-specific rental relief programs in California at the following links:

City of LA: https://hcidla.lacity.org  (Applications will be accepted starting March 30, 2021)
City of Riverside:  https://www.riversideca.gov/homelesssolutions/housing-authority/riverside-rental-assistance-program  (Application can be submitted now)
City of San Bernardino:
http://sbcity.org/cityhall/community_n_economic_development/housing/eviction_prevention_program_.asp   (Application can be submitted now)

What are my obligations for the payment of rent after June 30, 2021?

  • For protection from eviction, you are responsible for payment of 100% of your rent starting July 1, 2021.
  • The balance of the unpaid rent due to COVID-19-related financial distress is still owed. The law permits a claim for the unpaid rent to be brought in small claims court beginning August 1, 2021, even if the amount owed would otherwise be more than current small claims court limits.

Three Million Meals Prepared by “Serving Our Community” Free Meal Program

UNITE HERE Local 11 and Hospitality Training Academy Provide 1,100 Jobs

LOS ANGELES (March 3, 2021) — UNITE HERE Local 11 and Hospitality Training Academy’s “Serving Our Community” program prepared and delivered its three-millionth meal today. The milestone was celebrated at the LA Convention Center with City, County and State officials and representatives from UNITE HERE Local 11, Levy Restaurants, LA Convention Center, participating hotels, and the taxi and airport shuttle industry.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the program has employed 1,100 union and non-union workers in the hospitality, food service and taxi industries who were laid off due to the pandemic. With funding primarily from the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles, the three million meals have served 10,000 homebound seniors, people experiencing homelessness and low-income families.

These meals are cooked in the industrial kitchens at Levy Restaurants at the Los Angeles Convention Center, JW Marriott LA LIVE, The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort, Pomona College, Sheraton Grand LA and The Beverly Hilton, and then delivered by taxi cabs and airport shuttles.

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles

“COVID-19 has posed unprecedented and unpredictable challenges across our communities, but it’s also shown us the true meaning of the Angeleno spirit — a collection of compassionate, generous, determined individuals ready to step up and support our seniors and our neighbors in need. Progress is made through partnerships, and the City is proud to work hand-in-hand with UNITE HERE, the Hospitality Training Academy, and the Serving Our Community program to create jobs for our hospitality workforce and deliver high-quality meals to our hardest-hit residents throughout this pandemic.” 

Six-Months Have Passed and There’s Still No Justice for Andres Guardado

 Allies Demand Independent Investigation and Justice on Six-Month Mark of LA Sheriffs’ Murder of Andres Guardado

Posada and Silent Caravan follow Action by Supervisors Exploring Options to Remove Sheriff Villanueva, and Sheriff’s Deputies Refusing to Cooperate in Coroner Investigation

Los Angeles, CA: On the six-month mark of Andres Guardado’s murder at the hands of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputies, a coalition of civil rights and worker rights groups held a posada and silent car caravan to continue calls for an independent investigation and justice for the Guardado family.

Nearly a hundred cars participated in the socially distant procession which included costumed figures of angels, Joseph, and Mary, flower wreaths and large posters of Andres Guardado. The posada walkers were met on the corner of Grand and Temple with the lead car adorned by a wreath of flowers.

“My brother was a very bright student and a very good brother and son to my father and mother who did everything he could to provide for our family. I really hope there is justice in his name because what they did to him was unfair and no young man deserves what he got. We can’t bring him back so our pain will always be here but we demand justice and that would at least help our pain” said Jennifer Guardado, sister of Andres Guardado.

On June 18, 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.

“When the deputies shot Andres they tore a hole in all of our flesh. When the deputies took Andres’s life, they stole a piece of all of our souls. When the Sheriff blocks an independent investigation of Andres’s killing, he violates all of our rights.” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Like others killed at the hands of law enforcement, Andres Guardado was not just a statistic. His family & our community deserve answers, not obstruction.”

LASD officials have thus far refused to cooperate with an independent investigation, stonewalling the Inspector General.  Recently, a Sheriff’s deputy who shot Guardado and two other LASD detectives involved have refused to testify in the coroner’s inquest into Guardado’s killing, the first of its kind in 30 years, stating they will invoke the Fifth Amendment. In November, the  Board of Supervisors directed County Counsel to explore ways to impeach and remove the sheriff.

The coalition has called for Villanueva’s immediate resignation. In response, the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission unanimously passed a “vote of no confidence” resolution also urging Villanueva’s resignation.