A week after union contracts expired, workers have voted 96% in favor of striking at 24 hotels across Los Angeles and Orange counties, including the Andaz in West Hollywood and nearby hotels such as the SLS Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hilton.
The vote comes after a record-breaking 20 hotel strikes have already been carried out in over 10 cities across the country so far this year. The vote also comes on the heels of strikes being settled in San Francisco late last week, and Hawaii the week before.
With the holiday season drawing near, some hotels have already been the site of protests in a build-up to what has already become the largest series of hotel strikes in U.S. history. In an announcement of the vote, Unite Here Local 11, the hotel and restaurant workers union, said that “as tensions grow at the bargaining table, some of the Southland’s most prominent hotels could see work stoppages as early as December 12.”
Unite Here said it has been in negotiations with employers for months with a list of demands ranging from more affordable healthcare, to the implementation of panic buttons, increases to pensions, stronger protections for immigrants and wages that reach $25 per hour.
“We are asking that this contract get workers to $25 an hour,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, “L.A. has one of the highest costs of living in the country, and our booming tourism industry can afford to pay its workers a living wage.”
In recent months, Unite Here has been especially active in West Hollywood. It launched an unsuccessful campaign earlier this year to force the West Hollywood City Council to rescind its approval of a nine-story hotel as part of the Robertson Lane development on Robertson Boulevard. It was successful in getting a measure on the March 5, 2019, city election ballot that would, if approved by voters, rescind the city’s approval of the Arts Club project on Sunset Boulevard at Hilldale.
Unite Here recently filed an objection to a proposal by the Mani Brothers to convert the Piazza del Sol building on Sunset Boulevard at Queens Road into a hotel. That objection led to a postponement on Thursday night of a city planning commission review of the project. And it has put forth a proposal for a future ballot that would require a 24-month moratorium on the construction of new hotels in West Hollywood.
In its announcement of the strike authorization, the union noted that “last year, Los Angeles welcomed 48.3 million visitors, an increase of 2.2% from the year before, and the seventh consecutive year of record-breaking tourism numbers for the city. At the same time, median rent in the city rose to $1,760 for a two-bedroom apartment.”
The hotel industry is a major part of West Hollywood’s economy. The city currently has 20 hotels and motels in operation, with the Edition on Sunset scheduled to open soon and the Sunset Time under construction on Sunset Boulevard at Olive Drive. The hotel room occupancy tax is the source of 26% of the city’s general revenue.
Workers at the following hotels are now authorized to strike:
> Anaheim Hilton
> Beverly Hilton
> Biltmore DTLA
> Bonaventure DTLA
> Courtyard/Residence DTLA
> Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica
> Glendale Hilton
> Hyatt Andaz West Hollywood
> Intercontinental DTLA
> JW Marriott/Ritz DTLA
> LA Hotel DTLA
> Loews Hollywood
> Luxe Rodeo Summit Beverly Hills
> Luxe DTLA
> Marriott Westdrift Manhattan Beach
> Regent Beverly Wilshire
> Sheraton DTLA
> Sheraton Universal City