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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/1/2021 || PRESS CONTACT: Rachele Smith | (623) 670-9889 |

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. 



UNITE HERE Local 11 Calls for Moratorium on All Development Deals in Light of FBI Corruption Allegations Around Angel Stadium Deal 

Anaheim Workers and Residents Claim Unchecked Power In City Hurts Families

Anaheim, CA:  The morning after UNITE HERE Local 11 called on the Anaheim City Council to vote to cancel the Angel Stadium deal in light of a recently revealed FBI investigation into alleged corruption by city leaders, dozens of their members, residents and allies called for a moratorium on all the city’s pending development deals.

Hospitality workers also shared how corruption and backroom dealing in Anaheim have hurt them, claiming that money interests have controlled the development process and politics for far too long. They say canceling the Angel Stadium deal was a starting point, but will keep fighting for more to be done.

“I fought to win district elections because I wanted my neighbors and I to have a voice on the issues that mattered to us most like affordable housing and good jobs. The way corruption and special interests have taken over that voice at city hall is disrespectful to us as workers and our democracy.” said Mercedes Rojas who works as a housekeeper and is a member of UNITE HERE Local 11.

“I was forced to move out of Orange County because I could no longer afford to live near where I worked. I lost my  job at the Honda Center in 2013, and had to work multiple jobs to try and make ends meet. No other workers and their families should have to go through this,” said Chris Smith, events server and member of UNITE HERE Local 11.

“The pattern is clear. The people of Anaheim deserve to know which other deals are infected. We need a moratorium on all pending development deals with the City of Anaheim,” said Ada Briceño, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

Terranea Resort Agrees to Pay $1.52 Million to Resolve Legal Citation for Laid Off Workers 

Settlement reached with California Labor Commissioner in first legal action under state “return-to-work” law for workers laid off during the pandemic

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA-  The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has reached a $1.52 million settlement with the Terranea Resort to resolve a citation the agency issued in March to the ritzy resort alleging that it violated state law by failing to timely recall laid-off workers to their former positions.  The company also agreed to recall several veteran employees.

The settlement resolves the first case ever under California’s recently-enacted return-to-work law.  Signed into law last year, SB-93 requires hotels, event centers, and other hospitality businesses to offer employees whom they laid off due the COVID-19 downturn in tourism an opportunity to return to work in open positions for which they are qualified in order of seniority. The statute provides job protections to some 700,000 housekeepers, cooks, waiters, and other laid off workers.

David Gomez Martinez, who was laid off by the Terranea after working 10 years at the resort, said: “Being laid off during the pandemic has been devastating for me and my family. We’ve struggled to pay our bills and keep food on the table. I am really glad to know I will be getting my job back. Sad it took the state stepping in to make sure Terranea followed the law.”

The state agency, which is led by California’s Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower, conducted an investigation in response to complaints from workers alleging violations of the recall law. More than a dozen Terranea workers–including servers, cooks, and room attendants–filed complaints.

The Labor Commissioner’s investigation found that the resort failed to recall, or to timely recall, 57 former employees.  Each of these 57 workers will receive a share of the $1.52 million settlement, with the average payout approximately $26,500 per worker.  Under the statute, damages are calculated based on the number of days a worker waits to be offered open positions for which they are qualified. The company will also pay $5,300 in civil penalties to the State of California.

Terranea workers were at the forefront of the campaign to enact SB-93. The company terminated most of its employees without making a binding commitment to rehire them and cut off their healthcare at the beginning of the pandemic.

Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers’ union that fought for the law and helped the workers file complaints, said: “This is a tremendous victory for the Terranea’s workers, who fought to win and then to enforce their right to return to their jobs and provide for their families.  This massive settlement sends a powerful message to the entire hospitality industry that these worker protections have real teeth and that companies may violate them at their peril.  We commend the Labor Commissioner’s office for conducting such a thorough and effective investigation of the workers’ complaints.”

“My legislative colleagues and I fought to pass a law where hardworking long time employees who were laid off during the pandemic could return to their jobs,” said State Senator Maria Elena Durazo. “This outcome shows what can happen when workers, like those at the Terranea Resort, stand up for their rights and we in government listen and act.  I congratulate the California Labor Commissioner and her staff for their tremendous work to enforce this critical law.”


Election Day is June 7, 2022

Click on each section to see UNITE HERE Local 11 membership’s endorsements. To view this guide in the order shown on your ballot, click HERE.

Mayor of Los Angeles
Kevin De Leon

City Council
Council District 1 – Gil Cedillo
Council District 3 – Bob Blumenfield
Council District 5 – Katy Young Yaroslavsky
Council District 7 – Monica Rodriguez
Council District 9 – Curren Price
Council District 11 – Greg Good
Council District 13 – Hugo Soto-Martinez
Council District 15 – Tim McOsker

City Attorney (vote for ONE of these four candidates who helped stop short-term rentals from replacing housing)
Kevin James, Attorney-at-law, endorsed by the Grocery Workers’ Union (UFCW) Local 770
Faisal Gill, Civil Rights attorney, endorsed by Black Lives Matter LA Co-Founder Melina Abdullah
Hydee Feldstein Soto, Attorney-at-law, Neighborhood Councilmember, endorsed by the LA Times
Teddy Kapur, Attorney-at-law, business owner, teacher, endorsed by Senator Maria Elena Durazo

City Controller
Paul Koretz

Board of Supervisors
District 1 – Hilda Solis
District 3 – Lindsey Horvath

County Sheriff
Cecil Rhambo

County Assessor
Jeffrey Prang

Superior Court Judicial Seats
Office No. 60 – Anna Reitano
Office No. 67 – Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes
Office No. 70 – Holly Hancock
Office No. 90 – Melissa Lyons
Office No. 116 – David Gelfound
Office No. 118 – Carolyn “Jiyoung” Park
Office No. 151 – Thomas Allison

Mayor of Long Beach
Rex Richardson

City Council
Council District 1 – Mary Zendejas
Council District 5 – Megan Kerr
Council District 7 – Roberto Uranga
Council District 9 – Joni Ricks-Oddie

Long Beach Unified School District
District 1 – Nubia Flores
District 3 – Juan Benitez

District Attorney
Pete Hardin

OC County Assessor
Rick Foster

Board of Supervisors
District 2 – Vince Sarmiento
District 4 – Sunny Park
District 5 – Katrina Foley

Board of Education
District 4 – Paulette Chaffee
District 5 – Sherine Smith

Superior Court Judicial Seats
Office No. 5 – Claudia Alvarez
Office No. 11 – Marc Gibbons
Office No. 21 – Ray Brown
Office No. 28 – Jessica Cha
Office No. 30 – Michele Bell
Office No. 45 – Israel Claustro

Bell City Council – Ana Maria Quintana

Covina City Council District 1 – Hector Delgado

Glendale City Council – Ara Najarian
Glendale City Council – Dan Brotman
Glendale City Council – Vrej Agajanian
Glendale City Council – Elen Asatryan
Glendale City Council – Isabel Valencia-Tevanyan

Paramount Unified School District – Eddie Cruz

Pasadena City Council District 3 – John J. Kennedy
Pasadena City Council District 5 – Jess Rivas
Pasadena City Council District 7 – Jason Lyon
Pasadena Community College Area 7 – Alton Wang

CA Governor – Gavin Newsom
CA Lieutenant Governor – Eleni Kounalakis
CA Secretary of State – Shirley Weber
Attorney General – Rob Bonta
State Treasurer – Fiona Ma
State Controller – Malia Cohen
State Insurance Commissioner – Ricardo Lara
State Board of Equalization, District 3 – Antonio “Tony” Vazquez
State Board of Equalization, District 4 – Mike Schaefer
State Superintendent of  Public Instruction – Tony Thurmond

39th District – Andrea Rosenthal
40th District – Pilar Schiavo
41st District – Chris Holden
42nd District – Jacqui Irwin
43rd District – Luz Rivas
44th District – Laura Friedman
46th District – Jesse Gabriel
49th District – Mike Fong
51st District – Rick Chavez Zbur
52nd District – Wendy Carrillo
54th District – Miguel Santiago
55th District – Isaac Bryan
56th District – Lisa Calderon
57th District – Reggie Jones-Sawyer
62nd District – Anthony Rendon
64th District – Elizabeth Alcantar Loza
65th District – Mike Gipson
67th District – Sharon Quirk-Silva
68th District – Avelino Valencia
69th District – Josh Lowenthal
70th District – Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen
72nd District – Judie Mancuso
73rd District – Cottie Petrie-Norris
74th District – Chris Duncan

24th District – Ben Allen
26th District – Maria Elena Durazo
28th District – Lola Smallwood-Cuevas
30th District – Bob Archuleta
34th District – Tom Umberg
36th District – Kim Carr
38th District – Joe Kerr

There are two U.S. Senate contests on your ballot: One for the regular 6-year term AND one for the remainder of the current term.

Vote for Alex Padilla for both.

26th District – Julia Brownley
28th District – Judy Chu
29th District – Tony Cárdenas
30th District – Adam Schiff
31st District – Grace Napolitano
32nd District – Brad Sherman
34th District – Jimmy Gomez
35th District – Norma Torres
36th District – Ted Lieu
37th District – Sydney Kamlager
38th District – Linda Sánchez
40th District – Asif Mahmood
42nd District – Robert Garcia
43rd District – Maxine Waters
44th District – Nanette Barragán
45th District – Jay Chen
46th District – Lou Correa
47th District – Katie Porter
49th District – Mike Levin

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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