UNITE HERE Local 11 Endorses Hugo Soto-Martinez for Los Angeles City Council District 13

BREAKING NEWS: 07/29/2021

PRESS CONTACT: Maria Hernandez | 623-340-8047 | mhernandez@unitehere11.org

UNITE HERE Local 11 Endorses Hugo Soto-Martinez for
Los Angeles City Council District 13

Los Angeles, CA: Today, on behalf of UNITE HERE Local 11 members who live and work in Los Angeles City Council District 13, the union has announced its enthusiastic endorsement of long-time leader Hugo Soto-Martinez for Los Angeles City Council.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hugo is a U.C. Irvine graduate who has committed his life to fighting for California families. He is an experienced, compassionate, and effective leader who knows how to get things done for the residents of CD 13.

As a server at the L.A. Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, Hugo led a successful union organizing drive. Since then, Hugo has dedicated the past 15 years to standing up for his colleagues and members: the room attendants, cooks, and bartenders who have built and sustain the vital tourism industry in Los Angeles. Hugo’s organizing victories in the workplace have improved the lives of thousands of Angelenos.

As a member of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, Hugo worked to reduce displacement, support the development of affordable housing, and help address our city’s homelessness crisis. As a leader of UNITE HERE Local 11, Hugo has played an instrumental role in efforts to mitigate the effects of illegal short-term rentals on the housing market.

Hugo has worked with leaders of the Democratic Party of California to advance the rights of everyday people across the state. Hugo has organized for immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for our country’s undocumented people and has fought to resist federal policy that tears immigrant families apart. He has also led legislative campaigns to raise wages and protect workers from unsafe conditions.

Hugo has also worked with community groups across Southern California to increase transparency and accountability for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He has been a leader of the movement seeking justice for Andres Guardado, the young man shot five times in the back by the Department in 2020.

On the City Council, Hugo will continue his work and fight to ensure that CD 13 is a vibrant community where everyone—regardless of background or income—can participate in the public decisions that affect their lives. “We need someone to represent this district that represents our values and also has Hugo’s experience bringing people together to make change,” said Liliana Hernandez, a seven-year member of UNITE HERE Local 11. “As a hospitality worker, mom, and resident of District 13, I am excited that Hugo is running to represent me.”

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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, stadiums, sport arenas, convention centers, and airports.

PRESS RELEASE: Writers Guild of America West Joins Call for Boycott of Famed Chateau Marmont

Writers Guild of America West Joins Call for Boycott of Famed Chateau Marmont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Writers Guild of America West, the union representing over 10,000 writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and internet programming, has joined the growing boycott of the Chateau Marmont.

“We believe it should be a given that every member of our community be afforded the respect and job security they deserve,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman, “which is why the Writers Guild of America West stands in solidarity with the workers at the Chateau Marmont, and their fight for a fair workplace.”

The boycott was first launched by laid-off Chateau Marmont workers asking to be rehired in accordance with their legal rights and to be treated with respect. They boycott has won the support of Hollywood leaders like Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and others.

“We are grateful for the Writers Guild of America’s solidarity for the Chateau Marmont workers,” said UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen. “All workers—from those who write inspiring and entertaining stories for film and television to those who have built and sustain our tourism industry—deserve workplaces where they are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their race, sex, and background. The Guild’s stand moves the Chateau Marmont workers one step closer.”

WGAW’s support follows recent stories in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety Magazine reporting on an unfair labor practice charge filed alleging Chateau management surveilled workers during protests.

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

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing over 10,000 writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and internet programming.

HMS Host LAX workers and Ron Herrera outside Los Angeles City Hall

Relief for Workers, Not Billionaire Corporations Like HMS Host

Statement by UNITE HERE Local 11 on Los Angeles World Airports Board of Airport Commissioners vote to accept $36.78 million in an American Rescue Plan Act concessionaire relief grant at the July 8, 2021 Special Meeting

Los Angeles–Los Angeles World Airport staff have recommended that the Board of Airport Commissioners vote to accept federal grant offers for American Rescue Plan program funds at their special meeting on July 8, 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration allocated $36,785,751 for concessionaire relief at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). UNITE HERE Local 11 members at HMS Host demand that, should LAWA accept federal aid, it must require concessionaires like billionaire firm HMS Host to direct all relief to the workers that have struggled through the pandemic.

LAWA extended rent relief twice during the pandemic, providing minimum annual guarantee waivers and 24-month lease extensions for concessionaires like HMS Host. HMS Host is the largest airport concessionaire in North America and operates approximately 47% of all food and beverage concessions at LAX. UNITE HERE Local 11 estimates that because of LAWA’s actions, HMS Host escaped paying more than $4 million in rent between April 2020 and March 2021 for their two direct contracts. This does not include additional relief from the terminal concession manager, URW Airports, which URW passed down to sub-tenants like HMS Host.

Meanwhile, hundreds of HMS Host workers were laid off at the start of the pandemic and many are still waiting to return to their jobs.

HMS Host is a wealthy corporation, whose parent company, Autogrill, is owned by Italian billionaires through a holding company with a net asset value of $12.9 billion as of December 31, 2020. The airport provided more than enough relief throughout the pandemic and concessionaires like HMS Host must prioritize supporting airport workers. Domestic passenger traffic at LAX for May 2021 is at 61% of May 2019, before the pandemic. According to TSA screening numbers, travel peaked nationwide last week leading up to Independence Day with screening numbers exceeding 2019 levels. With travel recovering and significant aid already given to the firm, we believe HMS Host does not need nor does it deserve any additional relief from the American Rescue Plan Act concessionaire relief grant offered to LAX.

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Civil Rights Fight of our Lifetime: Hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 11 Members & Community Allies Launch Freedom Ride From Phoenix, AZ to Washington D.C to Pass the For the People Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Maria Hernandez | 623-340-8047 | mhernandez@unitehere11.org

Civil Rights Fight of our Lifetime: Hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 11 Members & Community Allies Launch Freedom Ride From Phoenix, AZ to Washington D.C to Pass the For the People Act

Who: UNITE HERE Local 11, CASE Action, Black Voters Matter, and other community allies
What: Launch freedom ride to urge the Senate to pass the For the People Act
When: Launch June 18, 2021 from Phoenix, AZ 11:30am – June 26th, 2021 Washington, D.C at 10:45 AM
Where: Phoenix launch 1021 S. 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85007
Follow: @UNITEHERE11AZ , and @CASEActionAZ, and @BlackVotersMtr #UNITEHERE #FreedomRide2021

Phoenix, AZ: In 2020, UNITE HERE Local 11 and CASE Action knocked on a million doors to turn Arizona blue and went to Georgia to take back the Senate. Now, UNITE HERE Local 11 and CASE Action join Black Voters Matter on a historic 10-day Freedom Ride from Arizona to Washington D.C to ask lawmakers to do what is necessary to pass the For the People Act.

Since the 2020 general election, over 350 anti-voter bills have been introduced in 47 states. For Arizonans, the attack on voting rights demonstrates the need for federal legislation to protect voters. The For the People Act would protect voting rights by prohibiting gerrymandering and unnecessary voter roll purges, guaranteeing transparency for election contributions, protecting the right to vote by mail, and automatically registering eligible Americans to vote.

Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the 1960’s Civil Rights era, freedom riders will drive across the South with stops at historical cities like Tulsa, OK, Little Rock, AK, Montgomery, AL and more. Four buses are launching from Phoenix, AZ with members from Arizona and California on board. They will join three other bus routes and converge on Washington D.C. by June 26. While in D.C., members plan to lobby elected officials on behalf of the For the People Act.

Background: The For the People Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives but now awaits a vote in the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future with the filibuster. One of Arizona’s senators, Kyrsten Sinema, has repeatedly said that she is unwilling to reform or eliminate the filibuster. Members hope to meet with her and share their voting-rights concerns while in Washington D.C.

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

CASE Action Fund is an economic justice organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arizona’s working families through policy advocacy and increasing participation in the political process

WeHo Hotel Workers and Allies March to City Hall

In Wake of Delay, WeHo Hotel Workers and Allies March to City Hall to Demand Immediate Action

After the City Council and City Manager discussed postponement of hotel worker protection policy during Monday’s Council meeting, workers and allies deliver petition to City Hall with 100 worker signatures in support of protection ordinance 

West Hollywood, CA: Over 30 workers and community allies, including a representative from the Stonewall Democratic Club and West Hollywood residents, marched to City Hall to deliver a petition in support of the anticipated hotel worker protection policy after a delay in the vote was announced during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

“I worked at the Standard for 16 years, and I still have no idea if I will be recalled back to work. Why would the city delay this?” said Sandra Pellecer, a former cook at the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, as she attempted to deliver the petition with 100 worker signatures to City Hall.

The policy is aimed at ensuring workers in the hotel industry, many of whom have dedicated decades of service to the industry, have jobs to return to as the economy reopens. The policy will also contain a series of measures to address the constellation of industry-wide problems that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as sexual assault, inadequate compensation for heavy workloads, and the lack of comprehensive, standardized training.

With the industry scheduled to reopen in less than a week, dozens of laid off hotel workers urged the City to bring the ordinance to a vote as soon as possible.

“We need to know that we will return to jobs where we have enough time to clean rooms thoroughly,” said Norma Hernandez, a room attendant who worked at the Mondrian for 12 years. “Before I was laid off, I would clean 12 rooms in a day. I was constantly racing against the clock to finish my assignment, and would even go without water to avoid bathroom breaks to save time. We need to be compensated fairly for this work if we are recalled.”

Similar worker retention ordinances have been passed in many cities across the region, including Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Glendale, and Los Angeles County. In 2019, the city of Santa Monica passed a historic Housekeeper Bill of Rights with similar panic button, workload compensation, training, and worker retention measures. Santa Monica also passed right of recall in the wake of 9/11.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, 95% of hotel workers were laid off, most left without healthcare or job security, and many after decades in the industry. Workers in the hotel industry are overwhelmingly immigrants and women of color, some of the hardest hit amid the pandemic.

The policy would ensure that hotel workers are a part of a just economic recovery for West Hollywood.