why it matters
Workers in various industries in Southern California have threatened to strike or walk off the job in recent months, displaying an unusual level of solidarity with other unions as they push for higher wages and better working conditions.
Dockworkers disrupted operations at the megaports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for weeks until a tentative agreement was reached in June. And screenwriters have been picketing outside the gates of Hollywood studios for almost two months.
Hugo Soto-Martinez, a Los Angeles City Council member who served as an organizer for Unite Here Local 11, said the prevalence of closed industries in the workers’ fight reflected frustration, especially among younger workers, who felt the inequality Widespread and opportunities vanishing.
“It’s homelessness, it’s the cost of housing,” he said. “I think people are understanding those issues in a more articulate way.”
The strike by hotel workers comes at a time when the summer tourist season is in full swing and labor leaders say they hope to take advantage of that momentum.
Last year, tourism in the city reached its highest level since the coronavirus pandemic, According To the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. Nearly 46 million people visited, and total merchandise sales in 2022 were $34.5 billion, reaching 91 percent of the record set in 2019.
But for many employees like Diana Rios-Sanchez, who works as a housekeeping supervisor at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, pay hasn’t helped keep up with inflation.
She often wonders how long she and her three children, who live in a one-bedroom apartment in El Sereno, a neighborhood on the Eastside of Los Angeles, can last in the city.
Ms. Rios-Sanchez said, “In hotels we just work and work and spend very little time.” “We take care of tourists, but nobody takes care of us.”
Business groups say simply asking employers to pay workers more wages doesn’t solve the deeper problems that are causing California’s cost of living to skyrocket.
The union has been in talks since April for a new contract. In June, the members approved a strike.
The group has requested that hourly wages, now $20 and $25 for domestic maids, increase by $5 immediately, followed by a $3 increase each subsequent year of the three-year contract.
In contrast, Mr. Grossman said in the statement that the hotels had offered to raise wages for housekeepers earning $25 an hour in Beverly Hills and Downtown Los Angeles to more than $31 an hour by January 2027.
On Thursday, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, a large hotel in downtown Los Angeles, announced it had called off its employees’ walkout. a contract deal,
The agreements reached this year will set wage levels ahead of the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympics, which are expected to attract huge tourists to the region.
what will happen next
Mr Peterson said on Sunday the strike would last “several days”. The Hotel Association of Los Angeles said in a statement that hotels would be able to continue serving visitors.
Anna Bates Contributed reporting.