For immediate release
July 2, 2023
DOWNTOWN L.A. LOCATION: InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, an IHG Hotel, 900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
SANTA MONICA LOCATION: Fairmont Miramar – Hotel & Bungalows, 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Interviews available immediately or upon request.
Southern California: This morning, thousands of cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents at multiple properties walked out on the largest multi-hotel strike in the local’s history.
Jennifer Flores, Front Desk Supervisor at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown said “For 14 years I saw how my mother worked as a housekeeper and fought hard to raise me. I am striking because it is my turn to fight for a better future for me and my son.”
Arturo Hueso, houseman of 30 years at the Fairmont Miramar – Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica said “I am on strike because unlike my boss, my cancer does not take a holiday. If I lose my healthcare I would pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for treatments and medications. I am on strike for my life.”
“Our members were devastated first by the pandemic, and now by the greed of their bosses,” says Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “The industry got bailouts while we got cuts. Now, the hotel negotiators decided to take a four-day holiday instead of negotiating. Shameful.”
The walkout comes after the biggest hotel in LA, the Westin Bonaventure, came to an agreement just a day before contracts expired.
On June 8, hotel workers voted 96% in favor of authorizing a strike. The union is seeking to create a hospitality workforce housing fund, in addition to better wages, healthcare benefits, pension and safer workloads. In a UNITE HERE Local 11 survey, 53% of workers said that they either have moved in the past 5 years or will move in the near future because of soaring housing costs. Hotel workers report commuting hours from areas like Apple Valley, Palmdale, California City and Victorville.
During the pandemic, hotels received $15 billion in federal bailouts and cut jobs and guest services such as daily room cleaning. In 2023, hotel profits in Los Angeles and Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels, yet hospitality workers continue to struggle to afford a place to live in the cities where they work.
Southern California will be the first city in modern history to host back-to-back the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028. In recent decades, these mega sports events have left local governments indebted for years and have permanently displaced millions of poor residents.
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.