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The Los Angeles Convention Center, the LA Live district, the Arena, and the JW Marriott LA Live

In L.A., Labor Dispute Wreaks Havoc on a Citywide Meeting

An early-September convention in Los Angeles might see just a fraction of its 6,000 registered attendees after pressure from the hotel workers’ union failed to persuade the group to cancel the event.

Scheduled for September 1 to 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association is seeing a significant number of attendees decline to participate in person because of a contract dispute between dozens of Los Angeles hotels—including some in the group’s room block—and Unite Here Local 11, the union representing thousands of hotel employees in the region.

In the weeks leading up to the event, at least several hundred registrants openly declared their intention to stay away, while the total number of no-shows will become apparent as the meeting begins.

On August 24, the union held a press conference in front of the JW Marriott at LA Live, originally the host of the APSA convention and one of the hotels involved in the dispute. There, union leaders called for a boycott of the entire city by all meeting and event groups until a deal is reached. A week earlier, the union called on APSA to cancel its event in solidarity with hotel workers. The association declined to do that but did move all event-related educational sessions and networking activities from the JW Marriott to the LACC less than half a mile away.

This MeetingsNet article provides APSA leadership’s message to its members detailing the changes made to the event to accommodate the union, but also the reasons why canceling the meeting would have created a financial crisis for the association.

Nonetheless, many meeting registrants are unwilling to cross picket lines to stay in room-block hotels affected by rolling strikes that have taken place since July 3. This article from offers the perspectives of various APSA members, including this:

“Political-science members of APSA are now voting with their feet. I wouldn't be surprised if less than 3,000 people show up. I think there's going to be a significant decline" from the originally anticipated attendance figure.

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