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California hotel strike nears end as union reaches more tentative deals with holdouts

Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

The almost 10-month-old strike that initially involved roughly 60 hotels and more than 15,000 workers in Los Angeles and Orange counties is nearing its end.

In late April, the powerful hospitality union Unite Here Local 11 announced it had reached tentative contract agreements with 12 Southern California hotels. And on Friday, Unite Here Local 11 officials said the union had negotiated agreements with six more local hotels in recent days.

So far, nearly three dozen other hotels have struck deals with workers over the course of on-and-off strikes that began in July. The new contracts awarded higher pay and other benefits to thousands of housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, servers and front desk workers.

"Hotels are falling in line," Unite Here Local 11 co-president Kurt Petersen said. "We're winning more the longer this goes on."

Stephanie Peterson, a spokesperson for Aimbridge Hospitality, which operates six area hotels that recently settled, said in a statement: "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Union that puts our people first, and we are taking the immediate steps to begin issuing the backpay our associates have been waiting for."

The new contracts include an almost immediate raise of $5 per hour for workers who don't typically earn tips, including front desk clerks, dishwashers and housekeepers. Those workers will see a total hourly wage boost of $10 over the course of the contract that expires in January 2028.

 

Hotel Figueroa, LA Grand and Glendale Hilton are among nine hotels whose owners remain in contract negotiations with the union.

A point of contention had been the practice of some hotels recruiting recent migrants living in a Skid Row shelter to replace striking employees.

In a compromise, four hotels agreed to give the migrant workers priority in hiring for permanent positions. The hotels include the Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica, the Four Points by Sheraton, the Holiday Inn LAX and the Pasadena Hilton.

"This is a testament to the idea of no workers left behind," Petersen said. "Our members saw workers exploited and had a sense of solidarity. The bosses' plan to divide people didn't work."

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