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Loews Hotel, Union Reach Agreement for Laid Off Workers
By Lookout Staff
March 21, 2023 -- The 320 hotel workers laid off for the renovation of the Loews Santa Monica Hotel will receive recall rights, free family health insurance and pension contributions during the expected nine-month closure, union officials announced Monday.
The agreement with the hotel’s new operator, IHG and its owner, Strategic Hotels is worth more than $4 million, according to Unite HERE Local 11.
The agreement provides fully paid free family health insurance and $3 an hour pension contributions during the layoff period and a severance package for workers nearing retirement, union officials said.
The hotel would provide "penalty pay" if the renovations take more than nine months.
"While we are nervous about how we will survive during this layoff, knowing that our families will have health insurance and we will continue to build our pension is an enormous relief," said Ligia Rivas, who has been a room attendant at Loews 11 years.
The 342-room hotel south of the Pier -- which is expected to reopen before the end of the year as the Regent Santa Monica -- completed a $4.5 million facade renovation last year.
The scope of the new work includes "the renovation of 342 guest rooms and guest room corridors including upgrading 12 guest rooms to disabled accessible and converting 20 existing guest rooms into hearing impaired rooms," according to AO Architects.
"This renovation is meant to excite the guest with new and unique experiences all while maintaining a sense of place," said the firm leading the renovation.
Strategic Hotels & Resorts officials told the website Breaking Travel News last week that the re-imagined Regent Hotels & Resorts would require a complete transformation of the 34-year-old hotel.
“As the needs and expectations of the modern luxury guest continue to evolve, we recognized an opportunity to reinvent our Santa Monica beachfront property to truly become one of the most prestigious, entertaining and beautiful hotels anywhere in the world," said CEO André Zotoff.
The hotel opened at 1700 Ocean Avenue in 1989 and was unionized in 2002 after a bitter 2 1/2-year labor battle that put the luxury hotel in the media spotlight.
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