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Hotel Workers Union Strike Vote Taken at the Pasadena Hilton Could Be Largest Such Strike in U.S. History

Ironically, the July 4 strike, if it comes, would likely affect just two hotels in Pasadena

Published on Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 5:55 am

[Courtesy Unite Here Local 11]
Southern California hotel employees have voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of authorizing what could be the largest hotel workers’ strike in U.S. history over disputes surrounding pay and working conditions.

The result of the strike authorization vote conducted in part at the Pasadena Hilton held on June 8 revealed that 96% of the workers supported the potential strike. It could commence as early as the Fourth of July weekend, affecting 15,000 hotel workers represented by Unite Here Local 11 in Los Angeles.

In Pasadena, however, the strike would likely affect just the two hotels which Local 11 said are staffed with its members: the Pasadena Hilton and the nearby Hyatt Place Pasadena.

But Pasadenans taking a long holiday that weekend could expect potential issues at other hotels and resorts up and down the coast whose employees are members of Unite Here Local 11.

The timing coincides with the Los Angeles area’s preparations to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics. Workers are demanding improved contracts in advance of these events, expected to bring a significant boost to the local hotel industry.

Workers are seeking a $10-an-hour wage increase, affordable family healthcare, retirement pensions, and safer staffing levels. They are also protesting the industry’s decision to cut staff and increase workloads during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The dispute involves major U.S. hotel chains including Hyatt, Hilton, Highgate, Accor, IHG, and Marriott. 

Union representatives pointed out that while the hotel industry received billions of dollars in Covid relief funds, many jobs were still eliminated. They highlighted that hotel occupancy rates and tourism in the LA area had almost returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021, leading to a highly profitable year for the industry.

The high cost of living in the Los Angeles region has also been a point of contention for many hotel workers.

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