On July 2, thousands of hotel workers in Los Angeles and Southern California made history by going on strike. This massive strike, organised by the union Unite Here Local 11, is the largest in the union’s history. Workers such as cooks, room attendants, dishwashers, servers, bellmen, and front desk agents, decided go to on a strike to demand improved wages and better benefits.
The union is advocating for several key improvements, including higher wages, advanced healthcare benefits, higher pension contributions, and decreased workloads. Specifically, it is asking for a $5 per hour wage growth for its members, in addition to an annual boost of $3 in the course of their three-year contract.
What makes this strike particularly impactful is its timing—it coincides with the 4th of July holiday weekend, which is a crucial period for the tourism industry. Hotels typically experience a surge in visitors during this time, and the absence of the striking workers could have a significant impact on hotel operations and guest services.
The main focus of the strike is to address the workers’ concerns about their wages and benefits. Despite the profits of hotels in Los Angeles and southern California returning to pre-pandemic levels, the workers argue that their wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of living. They are seeking fair compensation that reflects their contributions and allows them to meet their basic needs.
This strike affects many hotels, including well-known chains such as Marriott and Hilton. The participation of workers from various positions is anticipated to have a broad and far-reaching impact as the employees are determined to bring attention to their cause and ensure that their voices are heard.
The timing of this strike serves as a powerful remender of the ongoing challenges faced by workers in various industries, particularly those in the service sector. As negotiations between the union and hotel management continue, the outcome of this strike will shape the future of labour relations in the hospitality industry.