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Union Unveils $10 Increase in Wages in New Contract at 34 Hotels, But Still No Settlement at Pasadena Hotels

Published on Tuesday, March 26, 2024 | 5:50 am

Following an overwhelming vote in support, thousands of UNITE HERE Local 11 hotel workers who led the largest hotel strike in modern U.S. history have ratified a historic new union contract at 34 Southern California hotels. Workers won unprecedented wage increases, benefits, and rights.

The new deal does not apply to the Pasadena Hilton and Hyatt Pasadena — the two UNITE HERE unionized hotels here — which have steadfastly resisted in negotiation attempts.

“Workers there are going to keep fighting until they get what these hotel workers have won. They will not accept anything less,” United Here spokesperson Maria Hernandez told Pasadena Now.

By the end of UNITE HERE Local 11’s historic contract, workers will earn an average of 40%-50% more in wages than they do now. These significant wage increases will ensure that workers can remain housed and have the opportunity to live in the communities where they work as rents continue to soar, and money flows into the region with the World Cup & Olympics.

In addition to improvements in wages, workers will continue to enjoy excellent low-cost healthcare for themselves and their families. Workers also secured ground-breaking language guaranteeing fair workloads and pre-pandemic staffing guarantees, along with automatic daily room cleaning. Sticking together, hotel workers achieved every goal they set out when they launched the historic strike.

“We — the entire city — owe them an enormous debt for their courage, and it is the only reason why we have prevailed and it is the reason why we have given hope to all working people that they too can win a living wage,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Aimbridge, Hotel Maya, Hotel Figueroa, and every greedy hotel who is still failing to meet the new standard, listen up! We are not stopping until all workers get what they deserve.”

While workers at 34 hotels will now enjoy these life-changing wages and protections, disputes at dozens of other hotels remain unsettled, including the Hotel Figueroa, Hotel Maya, Doubletree Downtown Los Angeles, and the LA Grand, the site of the city-operated Inside Safe Program. At these hotels, workers continue to strike, picket, or boycott for their contract. Most recently, workers at Proper Santa Monica, Hotel June, San Pedro Doubletree, and Proper Downtown Los Angeles walked out on strike.

“After signing, I felt so much peace knowing that I’ll be able to retire with dignity,” said Ana Sanchez, front desk worker at Sheraton Gateway hotel LAX for 22 years. “I feel that God gave us the answer we needed. Winning this contract gave me so much confidence in my abilities and my own power.”

“Low wages and high rent forced me out of LA, but this doesn’t have to keep happening. The wage raise will give me peace of mind. It means I don’t have to put in extra hours to make ends meet. It means that I won’t have to live paycheck to paycheck,” said Brenda Mendoza, uniform attendant at the JW Marriott in Downtown Los Angeles for 14 years. “The healthcare we were able to keep for me is life-saving. I was able to beat cancer thanks to the medical care I received, and because of that I found the strength to beat this fight too. To my colleagues who continue to fight for a contract, let’s not give up. We are going to support them until the end,” said Arturo Huezo, houseman at the Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica for 30 years.

“Now more than ever we are determined to keep fighting until we win. We’ve been met with many challenges: we’ve been attacked while peacefully picketing, and recently, 100 of our coworkers were fired and thrown out on the streets when the hotel’s restaurant closed and opened with a new operator. We’re proud of hotels that have won a contract, and know that we can and will also win a fair contract that provides us with living wages, healthcare, pensions, and fair workloads,” said one striker.

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