April 15, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Striking Hotel Workers Rally and File Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against Hotel Bargaining Group

City Council Member Jesse Zwick Asks Local Hotel For Answers About Viral Video

By Dolores Quintana

Unite Here Local 11 announced the filing of an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the Coordinated Bargaining Group, a body that represents several of Los Angeles’ unionized hotel employers, including Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, and Marriott, on August 7, 2023, after a rally in Downtown Los Angeles.

The action aims to condemn a disturbing pattern of violence witnessed on picket lines during the ongoing strike. Over the weekend, striking workers organized a peaceful march in Santa Monica, which ended at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows. 

However, the event turned violent when hotel security tackled workers and their supporters seeking to establish a picket line. Videos of these confrontations have gone viral, prompting public outrage. Santa Monica City Council member Jesse Zwick retweeted the video, saying, “Workers have a first amendment right to protest. I want answers, 

@FairmontMiramar.”

A similar episode of violence unfolded at the Maya Hotel in Long Beach, where hotel security, including a manager, attempted to relocate striking workers using a chain-link fence forcibly. During the altercation, a guest reportedly punched a worker in the head and shoved others.

The Laguna Cliffs Marriott Dana Point was also the site of disturbing incidents. 

In another alarming incident, John Tesar, a chef associated with the Laguna Cliffs’ Knife Modern Steak restaurant, reportedly approached striking workers and damaged a drum held by one of them. Tesar allegedly directed derogatory and offensive language toward the workers, further fueling tensions.

As part of the ongoing strike, thousands of workers from 46 hotels across Los Angeles and Orange Counties continue protesting. During a July 18 bargaining session, the hotel industry’s proposal raised concerns as it did not include any wage increase. Moreover, the hotels abruptly ended the session after the bargaining committee demanded that temporary replacement workers, many of whom were Black, be permanently hired.

The ongoing labor unrest has generated significant attention, leading to event cancellations by entities such as the Democratic Governors Association, the Japanese American Citizens League, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the reality T.V. series “Vanderpump Rules.”

The so-called “Taylor Swift Lift” has also driven up room rates, significantly benefiting hotels. Amidst this backdrop, more than 50 elected officials, including Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, and L.A. City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez has lent their voice to the workers’ call for Taylor Swift to postpone her shows until hotel workers are paid a fair wage.

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