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Protestors Call on City to Aid Laid-Off Workers at Typhoon Restaurant in Santa Monica  

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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

March 29, 2017 -- Concerned about the 25 employees laid off when Typhoon restaurant at Santa Monica Airport closed last fall, unionized hotel workers picketed the site Monday to call on the City to do more to help.

After a dispute over a steep rise in rent the City was demanding, Typhoon folded on November 8 after a quarter of a century at the location ("Santa Monica Airport's Typhoon Restaurant to Close After City Hikes Rent," October 11, 2016).

At the time, most of the publicity about the abrupt closure focused on the restaurant owner’s contention the City tripled the rent to force out tenants to clear the way for shutting the airport itself.

The City owns the airport’s 227 acres.

But the protest Monday raised an issue that hadn’t been discussed before -- at least publicly.

The fates of the laid-off Typhoon workers are a potentially sensitive issue for Santa Monica, a city known for its attention to the protection of both public and private union workers within its boundaries.

Picketing at Santa Monica Airport Park, the protesters announced four “demands” of the City, said a spokesperson for Unite Here Local 11, which represents Santa Monica hotel and restaurant workers.

Danielle Wilson, a research analyst for Local 11, said the City needs a written policy to retain food service workers when a lease holder stops doing business on City property.

The protesters, which she said were Santa Monica hotel workers that Local 11 represents, also called for the City to make it a leasing priority to “create more food and beverage space at the airport,” and that workers be designated “local hires.”

Another demand was that the City personnel files of Typhoon employees be retained on the property.

A City spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Santa Monica takes pride in its worker protections. In line with other local cities, it adopted a higher minimum wage last July that will reach $15 an hour by 2020 for all employees.

The wage for hotels and businesses operating on hotel property rose $13.25 and will match the Los Angeles hotel wage ($15.37, plus the consumer price index increase) this July 1.

As of January 1, all employers in Santa Monica were required to provide paid sick time to employees if they work at least two hours in their work week.

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