BREAKING: HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor Announce Their Return to Work After 10-day Strike

Airport food workers will return to their jobs—and the negotiating table

PHOENIX, AZ –  On day ten of an indefinite strike, HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor airport announced their intention to return to work tomorrow, December 2, and to return to the negotiating table. 

Workers initiated their strike to highlight their demand for a new, comprehensive contract with fair raises, affordable health insurance, a company-paid retirement contribution, protections for workers’ tips, and strong contract language for equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 have been in negotiations with HMS Host since 2017. 

“Our intention with our strike was to bring more attention to the company’s stinginess after four years of negotiations, and to do it at a time when the company would be forced to recognize the value of our labor most—Thanksgiving,” said Victoria Stahl, barista in Terminal 4. “We did that and now we are ready to go back to the negotiating table.”

“It’s disgusting that I have to go to Mexico for medical care because the health insurance through the company doesn’t cover my treatment,” said Lucia Salinas, cook at Cowboy Ciao. “HMS Host saved more than $4 million on their rent during the pandemic thanks to rent relief from the City of Phoenix, but my family doesn’t get anything like that. Because we went on strike, now everyone can see what kind of company HMS Host is.” 

Over the course of the strike, the union filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against their employer for allegedly violating the workers’ rights to organize and strike. The charges, filed with the federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), allege that the company has interfered with workers’ federal labor rights by, among other conduct, questioning workers concerning whether they would be supporting the union and going on strike,  limiting speech in the workplace, and surveilling workers’ protected activity. 

“We want to thank the community for all of the support they showed us while we’ve been on strike,” said Beatriz Topete, organizing director with UNITE HERE Local 11 “The tweets from travelers, the thumbs up from other airport workers, the daily deliveries of food and drinks all kept us going. The generosity of our labor partners, especially the UFCW Local 99 and the Arizona AFL-CIO, made this Thanksgiving one we will remember for the rest of our lives. Solidarity means everything.”

HMS Host workers make up the largest group of food concessions workers at the Phoenix airport. HMS Host is the single largest concessionaire at Sky Harbor Airport, employing hundreds of workers in all Starbucks coffee shops at the airport and popular restaurants such as Barrio Cafe, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and SanTan Brewery. 

Along with issues like affordable healthcare and retiring with dignity, strikers plan to return to negotiations with a focus on ensuring equality at work on the basis of race, gender, age, and sexual orientation. On November 18, the union formally asked the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate the company’s pay and promotion practices. In a complaint filed with the EEOC, the union alleged that during 2019 Black/African American workers were paid on average only 67% of the total earnings of white workers, taking home on average $9,539.49 less per year than white workers. Several individual HMS Host workers at Sky Harbor have also filed pending sex and age discrimination complaints with the EEOC. 

Click here to learn more about the strike and hear worker testimonials. 

 

Responsible Hotels Ordinance

 

The Responsible Hotels Ordinance will help address the affordable housing crisis by:
  • Ensuring hotel developments do not displace affordable housing
  • Establishing a program similar to the successful Project Roomkey to provide temporary lodging for unhoused families and individuals.
  • Read the full  text of the Responsible Hotel Ordinance.

Spread the Word

Only 23 to 34 percent of Paycheck Protection Program dollars went directly to workers who would otherwise have lost jobs, according to an analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research. See also “PPP In Name Only.” 

UNITE HERE Local 11 Hospitality Workers Call on ALIS Conference Hotel Executives to Help Solve Housing Crisis

Demand Endorsement of Responsible Hotel Ordinance & Higher Wages to Afford Rent

Los Angeles: Over a thousand room attendants, cooks and servers with tools of their trade–beds, bell carts, mops–marched in downtown LA today asking the hotel executives attending the American Lodging Investment Summit, “the largest hotel investment conference in the world,” to step up and help solve the region’s housing crisis.

“I live in Apple Valley with my husband, our two sons, and my mother. Los Angeles is in the middle of a housing crisis and the hotel industry is perpetuating the decrease in affordable housing. Even with 5 people in one household, I cannot afford to live closer to the JW Marriott L.A Live where I work. I sometimes only sleep 2-3 hours a night. This is no way to live.” said Brenda Mendoza, uniform attendant of 15 years.

“Although I welcome guests arriving into LAX every day, I cannot afford to live in Los Angeles. After my apartment building was brought up, my rent went from $925 to $1325 overnight. I have seen how so many senior citizens became homeless because they could not keep up with the rising cost of rent.  I am barely hanging on.” said Eleanor Ramos, bartender at LAX for 26 years.

“I have to work two full time jobs and the only place I could afford a home in was California City. I sleep in my car in between jobs.  How can anyone achieve the American dream if this is what it costs?” said Leticia, a housekeeper at the Glendale Hilton for 22 years.

UNITE HERE Local 11 contended that the hotel industry’s historically poverty wage jobs and its irresponsible hotel development, which does not prioritize housing concerns, contribute to working Angelenos’ inability to afford to live in Los Angeles.

“At the investment conference thousands of hotel executives are celebrating record profits because they are making more money than they were before the pandemic.  Meanwhile the workers who make the industry prosperous have to live two hours away because they cannot afford to live where they work. The industry needs to help solve the housing crisis by paying a living wage and endorsing the Responsible Hotel ordinance.” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11.

The workers also demanded that these hotel executives endorse the Responsible Hotel Ordinance and commit to increase hospitality worker wages. UNITE HERE Local 11 members collected a record 126,000 signatures from LA residents to place the Responsible Hotel Ordinance on the March 2024 ballot. The ordinance would require that housing concerns must be addressed in hotel development and creates a program similar to Project Roomkey to place unhoused families in vacant hotel rooms.

The protesters also called on the hotel industry to raise wages so that working families can reside in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Hotel Minimum Wage is $18.86 an hour which means that a hotel worker would have to work 17 hours a day to afford a 2 bedroom apartment.

The protest follows Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declaring a state of emergency on homelessness.

“Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Los Angeles, and it’s one of the most profitable. Yet the workers who make that industry thrive face housing insecurity and rapidly increasing rents.  For too many, the dream of affording a home in the city where they work is completely out of reach. Some of these workers are even unhoused. This must change — and the hospitality industry can join us to be a part of the solution.” said Hugo Soto-Martinez, Los Angeles City Councilmember District 13.

Rent’s Too High?

Wage needed to afford a 2-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. See also the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Minimum Wage chart.

Hotels rooms under construction per “Hospitality Market Report – Los Angeles” prepared by Elyse Kirby for STR, accessed January 4, 2023 [login required]. See also affordable housing units approved by the City of Los Angeles.

BREAKING NEWS: Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11 joint statement

CLAREMONT, California – Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11 have completed a four-year collective bargaining agreement delivering historic wage gains for the College’s dining and catering teams. By July 1, 2024, all team members will reach a minimum of $25 an hour. On average, the contract will provide a 36% increase over the four years, further raising the standards for food service workers in the region. The College’s Local 11 members overwhelmingly ratified the agreement in a vote on January 18. 

Pomona College and UNITE HERE Local 11 issued this joint statement: 

“We are pleased to move forward with an agreement that recognizes the excellence and dedication of the dining and catering employees represented by UNITE HERE Local 11. The agreement provides substantial wage increases and, for the first time, the College also will make contributions to the union’s Legal Services Fund and Hospitality Industry Training and Education Fund. The agreement offers the stability of a multi-year contract to support Local 11 members and their families in making strong wage gains in the face of rising costs of living in our region. Coming after nearly six months of negotiations, the agreement shows the commitment of both parties to work through the collective bargaining process for the benefit of UNITE HERE Local 11 members and the entire college community.”

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. 

Pomona College holds a unique place in creating opportunity in American higher education.  It is one of a small number of colleges committed to need-blind admissions for domestic applicants and meeting the full demonstrated need of all students who enroll.

JOB OPENING: Maintenance / Custodian

Maintenance / Custodian

UNITE HERE Local 11 is a progressive, movement-based labor union working to improve labor standards in the hospitality sector. Based in Los Angeles, we represent more than 35,000 workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California and Arizona.
We are seeking a responsible, dedicated individual to join our maintenance team. Working under the general supervision of the Operations Manager, the custodian is responsible for overall building and grounds maintenance, repair functions, and preparation for and assistance with events and actions.
UNITE HERE Local 11 has four offices in California (Los Angeles, Garden Grove, Inglewood, and Long Beach) and one in Phoenix, Arizona. This position works primarily from our main offices in Los Angeles.

Responsibilities

  • Ensure spaces are prepared for the next day by gathering and taking out trash, dusting, cleaning and polishing furniture, machines, equipment, walls, ceilings, vents, and fixtures.
  • Set up, arrange and remove decorations, tables, chairs, ladders, etc. to prepare facilities for events such as banquets and meetings.
  • Sweep and mop floors, clean up spills, vacuum and shampoo carpets.
  • Service, clean, and supply restrooms and kitchens (e.g. soap, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Wash mirrors, glass partitions and windows.
  • Clear out and clean refrigerators.
  • Maintain outer premises, green space and parking lots, by watering plants, trimming bushes, removing weeds, using hand and power trimmers, cleaning entrances using broom and/or blower.
  • Perform maintenance and minor repairs (replacing lights, fixing door handles, minor leaks, painting, etc.)
  • Report vandalism and the need for major repairs and oversee repairs.
  • Keep cleaning supplies in stock, requisition supplies and equipment needed for cleaning and maintenance duties.
  • Secure facilities after operating hours by locking doors, closing windows and setting the alarm.
  • Undertake occasional tasks such as lifting heavy items, moving chairs/furniture etc. either manually or using hand trucks.
  • Track inventory for supplies and ordering.
  • Distribute and assist with action supplies and equipment.

Job Requirements

  • Knowledge of proper use and maintenance of hand tools and to operate cleaning/maintenance equipment, such as floor buffers, carpet shampooers, vacuums, mops, brooms, dusters, and various hand tools
  • Knowledge of proper handling of cleaning chemicals and materials
  • Ability to follow oral and written instructions
  • Ability to work with limited supervision and under deadlines
  • Attention to detail and conscientiousness
  • Ability to coordinate several concurrent assignments
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and work as a team with those contacted in the performance of duties
  • Ability to maintain communication with supervisor and director
  • Familiarity with basic landscaping and handyman practices
  • Ability to perform the physical aspects of the job as described above
  • Basic math skills
  • Bilingual English/Spanish preferred

Pay & Benefits

Pay and benefits are determined by the Local 11 staff union contract. The pay rate for probationary maintenance staff in 2022 was $19.02/hour. Benefits include health, vision, dental, life, employer contributions to a union pension fund, and legal services.

To Apply

Email a resume and three professional references to dosborn[at]unitehere11[dot]org with the subject line “Maintenance Position Application.”

WHAT DID LOCAL 11 DO FOR THE MIDTERMS?

As the 2022 midterm elections come to a close, the hospitality workers union UNITE HERE Local 11 in coalition with Worker Power, which focuses on young voters, people of color and swing voters, celebrate their work in Arizona, Los Angeles,Orange County, and Georgia to elect leaders who will fight for working families up and down the ballot.

Chateau Marmont Agrees to Landmark Union Contract