DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) – The union that represents thousands of hotel workers in the Los Angeles area is planning a large march in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, with workers from “dozens more” hotels joining already striking workers at five hotels, a union spokeswoman said .
Maria Hernandez, spokeswoman for Unite Here Local 11, said the union — which has staged strikes at a handful of hotels at a time since July — will hold its largest action yet on Wednesday.
While a statement from United Here said the action would involve workers from 50 hotels, Hernandez would not confirm that number on Tuesday, saying only that workers from “dozens more hotels will be coming” and that the union will announce more on Wednesday will make comments.
A union statement said on Tuesday that “thousands” of protesters were expected.
Currently, Hernandez said, Unite Here workers at the Pasadena Hilton are on strike; the Hyatt Place Pasadena; the DoubleTree San Pedro; the Hotel Maya in Long Beach; and the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point.
Hotel officials said the hotels would remain open, with management and other non-union employees stepping in.
Representatives of the Coordinated Bargaining Group, which represents local hotels, accused the union of being inflexible in its demands.
In a statement released Tuesday, CBG spokesman Keith Grossman said the current round of walkouts are “misguided and harming employees who are expressing displeasure with Unite Here Local 11’s tactics.”
“The union is using fear-mongering by falsely claiming that CBG’s proposal would destroy employee health care. CBG is in excellent financial shape and will ensure affordable, quality health care for employees throughout the life of the new Agreement continues. “In particular, on October 19, the CBG significantly expanded its health offering by offering up to $1 in additional premiums if the health fund actuary determines it is necessary,” Grossman said.
The Oct. 19 CBG proposal included an immediate $2.50 wage increase, a $4 increase in the first nine months, $9 wage increases over six years for most hotels in LA and wage increases of $8.05 for hotels in Orange County, LAX and Long Beach and 50 cents for pension contributions, Grossman said.
“Unfortunately, the Union remains unwilling to engage in actual negotiations in good faith,” Grossman said. “Their inflexibility and insistence on all their demands will not end this labor dispute or give workers what they are demanding – immediate wage increases and a new contract. Instead, the union appears to want to continue to harm Los Angeles and negatively impact our employees by continuing its Los Angeles boycott and temporary work stoppages.
Unite Here Local 11 represents about 15,000 workers employed at about 60 large hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Its members include cooks, maids, dishwashers, waiters, bellmen and receptionists.
According to a union statement, Wednesday’s rally is to protest against “poverty wages and the exploitation of unhoused refugees by hotels to replace striking workers.”
“The march follows an inconclusive bargaining meeting last week in which a group of hotel employers presented hundreds of SoCal workers with a new proposal to resolve the months-long labor dispute,” the union statement said.
“Workers were angered by the fact that the hotels did not significantly improve their previous situation and offered no new money for wages, pensions or health insurance. As housing costs rise, workers demand wages that allow them to live in the communities where they live.” They work. Many now commute for hours to and from work, and some hotel workers report sleeping in their cars.”
The march is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the northwest corner of Hill and 6th streets, with demonstrators marching through downtown LA, the union said.
However, the union has reached agreements with some hotels. In September, the Millennium Biltmore reached a tentative agreement with striking workers after reaching a collective bargaining agreement with the operators of the downtown Westin Bonaventure hotel. According to the union, Loews Hollywood Hotel recently reached a tentative agreement with its workers.
Members of Unite Here initially resigned from their jobs on July 2nd. The first wave of pickets targeted 21 hotels that were involved in contract negotiations with the union. The second wave began on July 10 and targeted a total of 12 hotels.
City News Service contributed to this report.