Dozens of laid off WeHo hotel workers gathered at Plummer Park last week to launch a door-to-door campaign to inform the community on a worker protection hotel ordinance that is up for a vote by the West Hollywood City Council at regular City Council Meeting on July 19th.
WeHo Hotel workers and allies went door-to-door to talk to West Hollywood residents about the ordinance. According to a press release by hospitality worker’s union UNITE HERE Local 11, hundreds of WeHo residents and small businesses have sent letters of support for the ordinance in the past two weeks.
“I am in total support of these workers who need their jobs back,” said WeHo resident Judith Anderson after learning about the ordinance.
“I support workers like Norma Hernandez who have built our tourism industry. I hope the West Hollywood City Council considers the community’s support and votes in favor of added protections for these workers like panic buttons and fair compensation for heavy workloads,” said Gregory Crosby, a 6-year West Hollywood resident.
The policy is aimed at ensuring WeHo Hotel workers, many of whom have dedicated decades of service to the industry, have jobs to return to as the economy reopens, and are protected from various forms of abuse, including threatening sexual conduct. The policy will also contain a series of measures to address the constellation of industry-wide problems that existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as inadequate compensation for heavy workloads, and the lack of comprehensive, standardized training.
“When I had to clean an extremely dirty room, it could take up to two hours to finish. To finish my daily assignments, I would go without water to avoid bathroom breaks and save time. I would often skip my lunch and my breaks,” said Norma Hernandez who worked as a housekeeper at the Mondrian in West Hollywood for 12 years. “I am so grateful that West Hollywood residents are standing with us. When I told my story at the doors, the neighbors asked what they could do to help.”
Similar worker protection ordinances have been passed around the region. In 2019, Santa Monica passed a policy with similar protections from threatening conduct, compensation for heavy workloads, training, and worker retention measures. Santa Monica also passed a right of recall ordinance in the wake of 9/11.
Allies held more community and small business canvasses last weekend before the final vote on July 19.
Genevieve Morrill, the President and CEO of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce released an open letter stating that the ordinance is politically motivated and is being touted under the guise of social justice for workers’ safety. “What it is really doing is creating untenable requirements that would force hotels into collective bargaining agreements by buying political support through campaign contributions. This ordinance will require a doubling of hotel housekeeping staff and impose severe restrictions on their compensation, which goes too far. This is BAD FOR BUSINESS and a JOB KILLER!
The vote will go before the West Hollywood City Council this Monday, July 19, 2021 starting at 6 p.m. All community members may view City Council meetings by livestream by visiting the City’s website at www.weho.org/wehotv. City Council meetings are also livestreamed as a courtesy on the City’s YouTube channel; on streaming services such as AndroidTV, AppleTV, FireTV, and Roku; and through broadcast on Spectrum Channel 10 in the City of West Hollywood.
Members of the public wishing to provide public comment on City Council meeting agenda items are encouraged to do so in the following ways:
- To participate by providing an e-Comment: Members of the public who wish to comment on matters before the City Council are strongly encouraged to submit an e-Comment using an online form at www.weho.org/councilagendas. e-Comments received by 2 p.m. of the day of each meeting will be forwarded to the City Council and posted on the City’s website as part of the official meeting record.
- To participate by phone: Members of the public are encouraged to email Melissa Crowder, City of West Hollywood City Clerk, at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of the City Council meeting to which you wish to be added to the public speaker list. Please include your name, the phone number from which you will be calling, and which item you would like to speak on. Dial-in instructions for each meeting will be provided in the Council Agenda for that meeting, posted atwww.weho.org/councilagendas. Comments from members of the public are limited to two minutes per speaker.