Fairmont Miramar Reaches Historic Union Agreement; Strikes Continue at other Santa Monica Hotels

Santa Monica: After six months of strikes and picket lines, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is the latest hotel to sign a tentative agreement with UNITE HERE Local 11.

With this latest announcement, a total of 25 Southern California hotels have now signed tentative agreements with the union.

“We’re excited and proud to have reached an agreement at our hotel,” says Fairmont Miramar worker Liliana Hernandez, who has been a housekeeper at the hotel for eleven years. “The last six months were challenging for us, but I am so grateful that the whole union stood behind me and my coworkers, and I’m proud of the leadership and solidarity. We hope other Santa Monica hotels follow the example of the Fairmont. Sí se puede.”

Once the contract is ratified, Fairmont Miramar workers will enjoy the 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.

“We applaud the Fairmont Miramar for signing this historic agreement,” said UNITE HERE Local 11 co-president, Kurt Petersen. “This victory once again demonstrates our members’ indomitable spirit and sends an unambiguous message to the remaining hotels that we will not stop fighting until we have won a living wage at all hotels.”

Other hotels operated by Aimbridge Hospitality, such as the Hilton Pasadena, Blackstone-owned Aloft and Fairfield El Segundo, and Ensemble-operated Hotel Maya and Hyatt Place Pasadena, continue to refuse to meet the new hotel contract standard. Dozens of workers at the Hilton Pasadena and Hyatt Place Pasadena walked out on the eve of the Rose Parade.

Le Merigot Santa Monica Announces Settlement with UNITE HERE Local 11

Santa Monica, CA: UNITE HERE Local 11 and Le Merigot Santa Monica reached a tentative agreement after months of negotiations, making it the first hotel in Santa Monica to do so during a citywide hotel sector labor dispute that has been marked by contentious strikes and picket lines. Le Merigot Santa Monica is the fifth hotel in the broader Los Angeles area to sign an agreement in this round of contract negotiations.

Workers at JW Marriott Le Merigot in Santa Monica celebrate reaching a tentative contract agreement“I am thrilled about our new contract and what it will mean for me and my family”, said Maria Espinoza, a Laundry Attendant of 19 years at Le Merigot Santa Monica. “ I am pleased that we are the first workers in Santa Monica to reach an agreement, paving the way for our sisters and brothers at the other hotels in our city to do the same. My co-workers and I stuck together, and we won!”

Once the contract is ratified, the workers at Le Merigot Santa Monica will secure::

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

Le Merigot Santa Monica, the Loews Hollywood, Biltmore Los Angeles, and the Westin Bonaventure have emerged as leaders in providing fair wages and benefits for its workers and superior service for guests. At the same time, the Le Meridien Delfina has been caught using unhoused migrants to break the strikes at their hotels.

“We value our staff tremendously, which this agreement reflects,” said Jessica Rincon, General Manager, Le Merigot Santa Monica. “And we are proud that we reached this agreement while maintaining a positive relationship with our employees. We look forward to providing the level of service that our discerning clientele expect.”

“We are pleased to announce our settlement at Le Merigot Marriott Santa Monica,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “We have now won standard-setting contracts in Downtown LA, Hollywood, Orange County, and Santa Monica.  There are no excuses for the rest. Workers deserve to share in the prosperity of the tourism industry.”

PRESS RELEASE: Over a Hundred Attend Santa Monica Truth Commission On Violence Against Protesting Hotel Workers and Exploitation of Unhoused Migrants Hosted by CLUE

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Faith and community leaders in Santa Monica held a “Truth Commission” on November 16 in response to violence against picketing hotel workers at the Fairmont Miramar and the exploitation of unhoused migrant workers brought in to replace striking workers at the Le Meridien Delfina.

The event featured 9 Commissioners, including former Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin, Santa Monica Human Services Commissioner Luis Barrera Castañón, and Ana Grande, Executive Director of the Program for Tortured Victims.

“Due to staff shortages, I did the work of 3 or 4 people,” shared Alexander Gallego, who recently arrived from Colombia and an unhoused migrant brought in to replace striking workers at Le Meridien Delfina. “They never told me that I had a right to ten minute breaks.”

Workers also spoke about being subjected to violence by hotel security guards, as well as alleged retaliation from hotel management for union involvement.“On August 5th, my coworkers and I were attacked by hotel security at the Fairmont Miramar. A guard threw me to the ground,” said German Martinez, a shop steward at the hotel. “I never expected violence from security, much less from the hotel itself. I still suffer from knee pain from falling on the rocks.”

Community leaders who were present as Truth Commissioners expressed their concern and support of workers, urging Santa Monica political leaders to enforce existing laws that protect workers from abuse.


“The hotel industry plays a very important role in this city, and we rely on the work that you do,” CLUE Board Member, Vivian Rothstein, told workers after they shared their testimonies. “Santa Monica prides itself on being progressive, and the city as a whole needs to know about this.”

“These worker stories are a call to action,” said Saba Waheed, Director of the UCLA Labor Center. “The city should investigate the claims we heard today about the violence and retaliation. Over the decades, Santa Monica has led the nation to pass policy to protect workers for exactly moments like this. Let’s amplify the strength of the city and its laws and protect the most vulnerable workers.”

“Because of Santa Monica, there are laws across other parts of Los Angeles county against the mistreatment, violence, and exploitation you have faced,” said former Los Angeles City councilmember, Mike Bonin. “This community and union have fought together to win those laws. But laws don’t change reality, they only change what’s possible. We need to insist on their enforcement. It has to be done insistently and relentlessly.”

Hotel workers across many Santa Monica hotels are in an ongoing labor dispute with hotels as they seek better wages and working conditions in what has become the largest hotel worker strike in modern history. On October 23, the use of migrant labor at struck hotels compelled Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to launch an investigation into potential violations by hotels and their subcontractors.

Following the Truth Commission, UNITE HERE Local 11 sent Los Angeles City Attorney Sloann a letter urging the city to further investigate possible violations of Santa Monica laws at hotels that brought in replacement migrant workers.


The hotel CEOs make more than $10,000 an hour but they can’t pay you a living wage? How low can they go? Watch as we march through Santa Monica. Strike! Boycott! Win!

BREAKING NEWS: Santa Monica Hotel Workers Strike Le Meridien Delfina During American Film Market Amid DA Investigation of Hotels’ Use of Unhoused Refugees

Santa Monica: Hundreds of hotel workers from multiple properties across Santa Monica, including at Le Meridien Delfina, walked out on strike demanding that hotels pay them living wages that allow them to afford housing.  Workers also call upon the hotels to  hire unhoused refugees who were  exploited during prior strikes.

The strike comes as Le Meridien Delfina hosts the American Film Market, which runs from Oct. 31 through Nov. 5. On Saturday morning, workers plan to march across Santa Monica.

The strike and march comes amid a growing scandal involving hotels’ use of unhoused refugees to replace workers during recent strikes.  As the Los Angeles Times reported, subcontracted workers, many of whom are unhoused refugees staying in shelters on Skid Row, were brought in to replace unionized workers during earlier strikes.  Some of the workers were sent to California on buses from Texas as part of Texas Governor Abbot’s publicity stunts.

The subcontracted workers have since alleged that they were exploited while workers in the hotels, with some reporting they were deprived of their legally required meal and rest breaks and were paid in hand-written checks with no explanation of their hourly wage or hours worked.  District Attorney George Gascon announced last week that his office would be conducting an investigation.

While most hotels operated by large chains have remained intransigent in response to workers’ demands for living wages, there have been some breakthroughs.  Most recently, the Loews Hollywood Hotel and the Laguna Cliffs Marriott reached tentative agreements with their respective workers, making them the third and fourth hotels to do so, following the lead of the Biltmore Los Angeles and Westin Bonaventure.

District Attorney George Gascon Announces Investigation into Hotels’ Alleged Exploitation of Unhoused Refugees, says UNITE HERE Local 11

Santa Monica –  Today, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced he will launch an investigation concerning hotels’ alleged exploitation of unhoused refugees during recent hotel strikes. 

District Attorney George Gascón emphatically declared, “We take these egregious allegations with the utmost seriousness. The mistreatment of vulnerable workers and their exploitation will not be tolerated. We will conduct an exhaustive investigation, working closely with UNITE HERE Local 11 and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance with labor laws and protect the rights and dignity of all workers.”

Many of the agency’s workers are refugees, hailing from countries as far away as Venezuela, and some are temporarily staying at the Union Rescue Mission, a shelter on Skid Row.

The refugees include workers who entered the country to seek asylum in Texas and were part of Texas Governor Abbott’s shameful publicity stunt of bussing workers to other states.

The hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 11 asked DA Gascón to launch an investigation regarding potential violations by hotels and their subcontractors of wage and child labor laws. In one instance, a minor is alleged to have missed school in order to work at a hotel. Some of the refugees reported receiving paychecks with little to no documentation regarding hours worked.

The union and immigrant rights groups are calling on the region’s hotels and the government to ensure that the unhoused refugees have jobs where their rights are respected as well as safe and dignified housing.

Refugee worker from Venezuela, Sebastian stated, “I entered a situation where I didn’t even know which agency was hiring me, how much I was going to earn, how many hours I was going to work, much less my rights as a worker.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Ada Briceño denounced the hotels’ actions. “The hypocrisy of the employers like Le Meridien Delfina is staggering,” Briceño said, “Thank you to District Attorney Gascón’s leadership on this issue. We will not stand by while that happens, our union is committed to continue fighting for all workers.”

State Senator Maria Elena Durazo also stated, “{California} is better than this, and we will continue to stand with these workers in Santa Monica and anywhere else they may face these awful conditions.”

“I’m outraged that Santa Monica hotels have resorted to exploiting the desperation of recent immigrants while their current employees fight for living wages and safe working conditions. It is indefensible that hotels would resort to employing vulnerable, newly-arrived refugees during an ongoing labor dispute with their employees, the vast majority of whom are immigrants themselves,” said Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA.

This as next week thousands of tourists, film lovers, and film industry workers will pour into Santa Monica the American Film Market next week, their stays and visits to AFM events in several Santa Monica hotels may be worked by vulnerable, unhoused, and unprotected immigrants.

BREAKING NEWS: Strikes Continue Following Hotels’ Failure to Increase Wage Offer;  Walkouts Mark 100th Strike in Historic Fight 

Santa Monica, CA:  A new wave of worker strikes began early Monday morning in response to hotel companies’ failure to provide an economic proposal at last Thursday’s negotiations.  The wave will start in Santa Monica hotels, including the Fairmont Miramar (101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401).  With these walkouts, hotel workers have struck more than 100 times in the largest hotel strike in U.S. history.

Two issues dominated negotiations on Thursday, September 21st.  First, hotel workers demanded an end to violence against striking workers.  Strikers at the Fairmont Miramar as well as the Maya Long Beach and Laguna Cliffs Marriott have been the subject of violent assaults by guests and security personnel.  More recently, the JW Marriott LA Live summoned the LAPD against picketing workers and their supporters who were detained and cited for using drums during a peaceful demonstration. The employers refused to acknowledge the violence, much less commit to ending it.

Second, dozens of workers spoke about their inability to pay for their housing and their commitment to continue fighting until they win a wage that allows them to live in the city where they work.  The Union then made a new economic proposal.  After a more than three-hour caucus, the hotel company representatives returned without any counter proposal.

“I still have pain on my arms and knees from when security guards pushed me on the pavement.” said German Martinez, a dishwasher of 34 years at the Fairmont Miramar. “It was disrespectful to see our employer not even address or apologize to us, and instead come back with no offer. We will do what we have to do until we get the fair contract we deserve.”

Hotel workers across the region representing 15,000 workers walked out beginning the Fourth of July weekend. They are demanding wages to help keep up with the rising cost of housing, better pension plans to retire with dignity, humane workloads and affordable family healthcare. Workers have called for a boycott of hotels across Los Angeles until the companies put an end to the violence and agree to a contract with living wages.