why does it matter
Workers across Southern California in a range of industries have threatened to strike or walk out of work in recent months, and have shown extraordinary levels of solidarity with other unions as they push for higher salaries and better working conditions.
Dockers held up operations for weeks at the megaports in Los Angeles and Long Beach until they reached a tentative deal in June. The screenwriters had been camped out outside the gates of the Hollywood studios for about two months.
Hugo Soto-Martinez, a Los Angeles City Council member who served as an organizer for Unite Here Local 11, said the breadth of industries caught up in labor battles showed frustration especially among young workers, who saw inequality widen and opportunities evaporate.
“It’s homelessness, it’s the cost of housing,” he said. “I think people understand these issues in a much clearer way.”
The hotel workers’ strike comes as the summer tourism season heats up, and labor leaders say they hope to build on the momentum.
Tourism in the city last year reached its highest level since the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Board. Nearly 46 million people visited, and there were $34.5 billion in total business sales in 2022, reaching 91 percent of the record set in 2019.
But for many workers like Diana Rios Sanchez, who works as a housekeeping supervisor at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, the 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, an Eastside neighborhood in Los Angeles, can afford to live in the city.
“All we do in hotels is work, work and get very little,” said Ms. Rios-Sanchez. “We take care of the tourists, but nobody takes care of us.”
Business groups say simply asking employers to pay workers more does not address the deeper problems that have driven up California’s cost of living.
The federation has been negotiating since April for a new contract. In June, the members agreed to go on strike.
The group requested that hourly wages, now $20 and $25 for domestic workers, be increased by $5, followed by $3 in each subsequent year of a three-year contract.
By contrast, Mr. Grossman said in the statement that hotels have offered to increase salaries for housekeepers who currently make $25 an hour in Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles to more than $31 an hour by January 2027.
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, a major hotel in downtown Los Angeles, announced Thursday that it averted its workers’ strike by Contract deal.
Agreements struck this year will set wage levels ahead of the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympics, which are expected to be massive tourism draws to the region.
On Sunday Mr Petersen said the strike would continue for “several days”. The Los Angeles Hotel Association said in a statement that hotels will be able to continue serving visitors.
Anna Bates Contribute to the preparation of reports.
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