L.A. hotel strike: Union nabs deals with 10 more hotels

Unite Here Local 11 has reached tentative contract agreements with 10 more Southern California hotels covering hundreds of housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, servers and front desk workers who have been pushing for higher pay and better benefits.

Momentum is building to resolve the five-month-old strike that initially involved 60 hotels and more than 15,000 workers and is believed to be the largest hotel strike in U.S. history.

In all, 20 hotels have preliminarily agreed to new contracts that will raise wages, strengthen pensions and increase investments in healthcare, the union said Saturday.

The latest agreements cover more than 1,700 workers at the Irvine Marriott, W Los Angeles — West Beverly Hills, SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, Westin Los Angeles Airport, Sheraton Grand Los Angeles, JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A Live, Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, Courtyard Los Angeles L.A. Live, Residence Inn Los Angeles L.A. Live and the Hilton Irvine.

The union has declined to give specifics on wages and other economic details of the agreements it has reached so far, and the contracts have not yet been put to a vote by workers.

The Marriott properties and the Hilton had been part of a coordinated bargaining group said to represent owners and operators of more than 40 Southern California properties, according to the union. Keith Grossman, an attorney representing the coordinated group in talks with the union, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We are pleased to have reached a new labor agreement for our valued associates in Los Angeles and Irvine,” Lucy Slosser, a spokesperson for Marriott International, said in an email.

The union, which has been negotiating for new contracts since April, has pushed for higher pay for members — a $5 immediate hourly wage increase and a $3 boost annually for three years — to cover the rising cost of living, particularly housing, which workers say has become untenable. Hotel sites in Los Angeles and Orange counties have been hit by noisy picket lines, boycotts and a series of sporadic strikes since contracts expired June 30.

Union leaders praised Marriott and Hilton while calling out other properties still in talks.

“If the world’s largest hotel companies, Marriott and Hilton, agreed to raise the standard for hotel workers, what makes other hoteliers such as the Maya in Long Beach or Aimbridge Hospitality think their workers will accept anything less?” Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, said in a statement Saturday. “Our members are more determined today to win a living wage than the first day of this historic strike. Nothing will stop them.”

Hotel Maya in Long Beach is among several hotels where violence had flared against workers on the picket line. The union has sharply criticized the hotels and filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board.

The union this week ramped up pressure in contract negotiations with hotels operated by Aimbridge, which has faced sharp criticism from union officials and others for hiring unhoused refugees from Venezuela and Colombia to replace workers during recent strikes targeting at least two hotels it operates, the Holiday Inn Los Angeles — LAX Airport and the Hilton Pasadena.

Workers at the Aimbridge-operated Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort went on strike Wednesday, and the union has said workers at other Aimbridge-operated properties might follow as early as this weekend.

Unite Here Local 11 spokesperson Maria Hernandez said the W Hollywood is the only Marriott property in talks with the union that has not yet reached a contract deal. Hernandez said there were “outstanding contract issues” but did not provide other details. Slosser, the Marriott spokesperson, urged the union to come to an agreement with the W Hollywood.

Peter Hillan, a spokesperson for the Hotel Assn. of Los Angeles, said this week that he could not comment on recent tentative agreements. He has, however, broadly voiced skepticism about the lack of transparency regarding the terms of the deals.

“If that’s really a ready-to-go deal, it should be put forth for ratification,” Hillan said Wednesday.

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