Workers protest hotels owned by developer recently convicted of bribery
Los Angeles: In the latest development in what has become the largest hotel worker strike in modern history, workers at the Sheraton Universal hotel went on an unfair labor practice strike this morning. They join workers from the LA Grand who walked out on strike yesterday.
Workers at the Sheraton Universal have filed pending federal unfair labor practice charges alleging that the hotel has retaliated against workers by disciplining or suspending approximately sixteen workers for protesting for better wages, among other allegedly unlawful conduct.
The Sheraton Universal and LA Grand are sister properties owned and operated by Shen Zhen New World LLC. On May 12, 2023, following an 11-day trial, the company was convicted of bribery and related charges and fined $4 million for giving benefits – including luxury trips and a sham loan – to bribe then-Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar in a bid to obtain city approval to build a skyscraper. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Shen Zhen’s owner is a fugitive believed to be in China.
The LA Grand operates under a contract with the City of Los Angeles as a site for Project Roomkey, an initiative to provide temporary shelter for unhoused persons. Workers at the hotel have raised concerns about staffing since the start of the program several years ago and have failed a pending unfair labor practice charge alleging that the hotel disciplined a worker for complaining about safety issues. Workers have also been calling for fair wages and benefits so that they can afford to live in Los Angeles and not join the ranks of the unhoused themselves.
Hotel workers at the Sheraton Park and Anaheim Hilton next to Disneyland in Orange County are also currently on strike.