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Hotel Workers Stage Second Wave of Walkouts
By Jorge Casuso
July 10, 2023 -- Less than one week after returning from a three-day walkout at five Santa Monica hotels, union workers staged a second wave of strikes at hotels near LAX on Monday.
This time, Unite HERE Local 11 targeted eight hotels around the airport, bringing to more than two dozen the number of hotels targeted in the largest hotel strike in Southern California history ("Hotel Union Strike Ends, More Could Follow," July 5, 2023).
The union -- which represents some 35,000 employees -- is seeking an immediate $5 an hour raise for the workers, irregardless of their current salary, with an additional $3 an hour in subsequent years of the contract. They also are seeking improved health care and pension benefits.
On Monday, the Coordinated Bargaining Group for 44 of the 60 hotels in LA and Orange counties engaged in union negotiations said they "offered another two dates to the Union to resume bargaining despite intermittent strikes at Los Angeles-area Hotels.
"The Union did not give the Coordinated Bargaining Group a response," said Keith Grossman, the group's spokesperson . "Instead, they chose to strike.”
“UNITE HERE Local 11’s intransigence and unwillingness to meet is hurting our employees and continues to damage Los Angeles’ reputation with tourists,” Grossman said.
“It’s been clear from Day One that Local 11 only wanted to strike and was not focused on the interests of our employees or the City," he said. "We offered dates because we want to meet and make progress toward a contract settlement."
The union also is insisting that "the hotels impose a 7 percent tax on guests of unionized hotels" to create a housing fund for union workers ("Hotels File Unfair Labor Charges Against Workers Union," July 6, 2023).
The two sides also remain at a stalemate over the salary demands, with the bargaining group offering to increase the hourly wage by $2.50 the first year and $6.25 over 4 years.
That offer falls far short of the union's demand for an immediate $5 an hour wage increase, with an additional $3 an hour in subsequent years of the contract.
The bargaining group also insists the union is misrepresenting their offer when it comes to health care benefits and pension, which they say would be secured for the next four years.
Grossman has said the hotels "are fully prepared to continue to operate these hotels and to take care of our guests as long as this disruption lasts."
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