After more than a month of negotiations with hotel employers, members of hotel workers union Unite Here Local 11 in Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif., have voted to authorize a strike if they can’t come to terms with the properties they serve.
The union, whose member are non-management hotel employees such as front desk staff, housekeepers, and dishwashers, announced that the strike authorization was approved by 96 percent of those who voted. The union has 15,000 workers in 62 hotel properties around the region, including at the Westin Bonaventure, Fairmont Center Plaza, Beverly Wilshire, and Sheraton LAX, among others.
Contracts at dozens of hotels expire on June 30. Strike-authorization votes are a common union tactic during labor talks to pressure employers to come to the table. If a strike is, in fact, called, it “would be the largest hotel-worker strike in modern U.S. industry,” according to the union.
Workers’ demands include an immediate $5-an-hour wage increase to keep up with the high cost of housing in Southern California. “Living in L.A. is no longer an option,” said one Los Angeles hotel worker in this article in the Los Angeles Times. “Nobody wants to go to strike. But if that’s what it’s going to take, then that’s what we’re going to do.” Workers are also asking for other changes around healthcare, pensions, and staffing levels.
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