200 workers and allies engaged in an act of mass nonviolent civil disobedience in Los Angeles on June 22, following an overwhelming strike authorization vote June on 8. Photo: Unite Here 11
On June 22, nearly 200 workers, union leaders, progressive politicians, and other community members were arrested in a mass civil disobedience action. 200 demonstrators sat down in the middle of the road in Los Angeles, subjecting themselves to arrest to demand better wages, pensions, a housing fund, benefits, and safer workloads for UNITE HERE Local 11 workers in Los Angeles.
Workers are gearing up to possibly strike after their contract with Hyatt, IHG, Hilton and Marriott hotels in LA expires on June 30. Local 11 workers authorized a strike on June 8 with 96% approval. This strike would involve over 15,000 union hotel workers, the largest hotel strike in modern US history.
The hotel workers that keep the tourism and hospitality industry alive in one of the richest cities in the world, can no longer afford to live in the city where they work.
“During the pandemic, hotels received USD 15 billion in federal bailouts and cut jobs and guest services such as daily room cleaning,” writes UNITE HERE Local 11. “In 2023, hotel profits in Los Angeles and Orange County exceeded pre-pandemic levels.”
According to a union survey, 53% of workers say they have moved in the past five years, or will move because of the rising costs of housing. Some workers commute hours from neighboring cities, a nationwide phenomenon that contributes emissions to the climate crisis. As a result, Local 11 has put forward the radical proposal of a hospitality workforce housing fund to assist workers in paying for housing, a positive step in uniting the labor and housing movements.
The tourism industry is about to experience a massive boom in the already wealthy city of Los Angeles, with the World Cup in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028. “UNITE HERE Local 11 is calling on the industry and political leadership to use the events to transform tourism jobs into family-sustaining jobs and solve the housing crisis,” the union writes.
“Contracts expire June 30, and employers like Hyatt, IHG, Hilton and Marriott have failed to agree to anything close to the wages workers say they need to live with dignity in the cities where they work,” the union claims.
Westin Bonaventure reached a historic deal with 600 workers on June 29, with the strike on the horizon. According to Local 11, the deal includes “unprecedented wage increases,” “affordable, excellent family healthcare,” and “humane and safe staffing,” among other things.