Thousands of LA hotel workers vote to strike if current contract negotiations fail

Union leadership want higher wages, more affordable healthcare, and protections for immigrant workers

UNITE HERE 11 members demonstrate in front of the JW Marriott in Downtown Los Angeles (credit: UNITE HERE Local 11)
UNITE HERE 11 members demonstrate in front of the JW Marriott in Downtown Los Angeles (credit: UNITE HERE Local 11)

More than 6,200 hotel workers are poised to strike at 24 hotels in the Los Angeles area if contract negotiations fail with their employers.

Members of UNITE HERE Local 11 voted to authorize their colleagues to strike at their hotels on Friday, the same day that their existing contracts expired, according to WeHoville. They work at some of L.A.’s most popular lodges including the Beverly Hilton, Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica, and the Andaz in West Hollywood.

Union leadership, which has been negotiating with the hotels for several months, are seeking concessions, including access to more affordable healthcare, the implementation of panic buttons, protections for immigrant workers, and wages as high as $25 per hour.

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UNITE HERE Local 11 says it has 29,000 members across Southern California and Arizona.

The possibility of a strike is heating up at the end of a year in which thousands of hotel workers around the country have gone on strike, including many members of UNITE HERE. In late November the union ended a months-long strike at Marriot locations around the country.

L.A.’s hotel industry is booming and it has set off a development frenzy. Developers want to build around 33,000 hotel rooms in the area over the next few years. A strike could be particularly damaging to the industry during the holidays.

UNITE HERE Local 11 has turned to other tactics to put pressure on hotel leadership. In October, the union appealed a planned 120-key hotel in Pico-Union over what it said was a faulty environmental impact analysis. Representatives couldn’t be reached for comment, but such appeals are commonly used by labor unions to pressure hotel operators into conceding to labor demands. The appeal could delay the project for months. [WeHoville] – Dennis Lynch