Hundreds of workers at the Hyatt West Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles went on strike today in protest of the hotel’s refusal to return the thousands of dollars in healthcare co-pays the hotel collected from the workers over a period of eight months after their contract expired in April. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) now alleges that the hotels collected this money illegally. Approximately 500 of the nearly 3,000 housekeepers, bellman, dishwashers, waiters, and other hotel workers at the employer council hotels lost their health insurance because they did not or could not make payments.
The NLRB will be taking the hotels to trial because of their findings that the hotels bargained with the union in bad faith, but litigation can take years. The Los Angeles hotel workers need their money now. Workers hope the 2-week strike will convince the hotels to return their money and teach them that they must obey the law.
Hundreds of workers walked off the job early this morning, leaving hotel managers scrambling to tend to guests. Workers from the other six Employer’s Council hotels, elected officials, community supporters, and labor leaders will meet at the Hyatt West Hollywood at 5:00PM to join the Hyatt West Hollywood workers picket line and rally.
Prior to the strike, hotel workers in Los Angeles achieved significant victories in their yearlong contract fight last month when the unity of the L. A. Hotel Employer’s Council (EC) was broken by two actions–the General Manager of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, an EC member, agreed with Local 11 that the EC hotels should accept the 2004-2006 agreement the union has already signed with six other L.A. hotels and the EC shrank from eight to seven hotels after the former Hyatt Regency Downtown was acquired by a new owner, who, not being bound by the EC’s rules, signed a 2004-2006 agreement with Local 11.
The Wilshire Grand’s action established a precedent that other EC hotels may follow. In recent days, the Millennium Biltmore hotel has joined the Wilshire Grand hotel in agreeing to accept a 2006 contract, even though both are prohibited from signing such deals because they have committed to joint negotiations with the five other hotels.
For more information, visit www.HotelWorkersUnited.org