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What’s behind the workers’ strike at a hotel in Southern California? – Orange County Register

Strike is part of that a series of combined actions It’s impacting a variety of industries in California this year. Labor leaders say rising costs in California are one reason unions are active, but some employers say unions are simply looking to increase their political clout. claims.

Unite Here Local 11 represents approximately 15,000 California hotel and hospitality employees, including flight attendants, dishwashers, cooks, front desk attendants, bellmen, cooks and dishwashers. Unions say workers are demanding better wages and benefits as their current salaries are increasingly unable to pay for housing, food, gas and other basic necessities. The lowest paid flight attendants in hotels make $20 to $25 an hour.

see next: Union workers rally in Los Angeles for better wages and benefits

“Today, workers seem to have a mixed feeling of anger that should be released and a desire to win a wage that allows them to live in LA,” said union co-chair Kurt Petersen. said.

Petersen said unions presented their proposals at the first round of negotiations on April 20. The proposal included an immediate $5 an hour pay increase, with additional $3 an hour pay increases in 2024 and 2025.

Keith Grossman, spokesman for a coalition of 44 hotels negotiating with the union, said in a statement that Unite Here Local 11 had shown no willingness to negotiate in good faith.

Grossman said the hotel consortium is proposing a pay increase of $2.50 an hour for the first 12 months and $6.25 an hour over the next four years, as well as continuation of the current health care plan and pension contributions.

Under the proposal, housekeepers in Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles would receive a 10% pay rise in 2024 and earn more than $31 an hour by January 2027, according to the coalition.

negotiation correspondence

The coalition said the unions had responded to the proposal by canceling a scheduled bargaining meeting, refusing to schedule additional meetings, and giving the unions a 40% wage hike and more than a 28% increase in welfare costs. He claims that he did not deviate from the proposal.

“It’s clear from the actions of the unions that they are not focused on the interests of their employees or union members, but instead on the political agenda,” Grossman said.

Petersen, on behalf of the union, denied canceling a planned negotiation session and said the hotel did not present a counteroffer until two months after the union’s initial proposal.

“We don’t need a negotiating session,” Petersen said. “All we need is for them to sign the agreement signed by Westin Bonaventure.”

Hotel workers go on strike outside the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City on Monday, July 3, 2023.  (Photo credit: Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
Hotel workers go on strike outside the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City on Monday, July 3, 2023. (Photo credit: Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

On Thursday, June 29, one day before the hotel workers’ contracts expired, unions reached a preliminary agreement with Los Angeles’ largest hotel, The Westin Bonaventure, to avert a strike for about 600 employees at the hotel.

“Westin cares about its employees and the city,” Petersen said, adding that coalition hotel representatives were concerned about how the workers’ strike could spread.

“They’re worried that what’s happening in LA will spread across the country, and I hope it does,” he said.

The strike is the latest major union action in California this year.

In March, a union representing tens of thousands of teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria workers won a stake. LA Unified Schools Closed for Days After Strike.

Hollywood writers have been on strike since May, and other entertainment unions are threatening to take action as their contracts expire this summer. The Major Actors Guild recently extended his contract until July 12, amid ongoing negotiations.

There have also been strikes, threats and last-minute deals involving nurses, warehouse workers and the food industry this year.

workers rally

At the Marriott-owned boutique hotel Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica, Patricia Ibáñez rallied dozens of employees with loudspeakers to surround the sidewalk in front of the hotel. A few hotel guests were watching.

Ibáñez said the hotel was on strike “because they want to save labor”. They are not going to hire people to give us extra benefits. ”

Ibáñez said he had to take a side job at a nearby Jack in the Box so he could afford the family’s $2,600 a month apartment in Culver City.

Flight attendant Carlos Martinez said he was on strike for better pay and benefits to care for his growing family. He and his wife are due to give birth in October.

“I have my wife insured and I want her and my children covered,” he said.

His hourly wage of $25 is not enough, he said, given the high cost of living and the workload of housekeepers with limited staff.

“There were days when we were at 100 percent capacity, but we were three or four people short and double-worked,” he said.

He said the extra $5 would provide a cushion for his family so he could work more comfortably through difficult shifts.

Last year, 120,600 workers across the country went on mass strikes (work stoppages involving more than 1,000 workers), a 50% increase from 2021, compared to the 1970s. It’s just part of the height of strike activity, he said. Economic Policy Research Institute.

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/07/03/whats-behind-the-hotel-workers-strike-days-before-national-holiday/ What’s behind the workers’ strike at a hotel in Southern California? – Orange County Register

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