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 union’s history.
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.”
According to press release by Unite Here 11, 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.