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Hotel Housekeepers to Rally at City Hall Tonight
By Jorge Casuso
March 26, 2019 -- Saying they are tired of waiting, the local hotel workers union will hold a rally Tuesday night to pressure the City Council to pass a “Hotel Housekeepers’ Bill of Rights.”
The rally comes five months after the City Council directed staff to draft a groundbreaking ordinance to protect housekeepers from sexual violence ("City to Draft Groundbreaking Ordinance Protecting Santa Monica Hotel Workers from Sexual Violence," October 26, 2018).
The proposed ordinance requires Santa Monica hotels to install "panic buttons" in all guest rooms and protect hotel workers from "unreasonable workloads."
"Five months later, the policy has not been implemented, and the workers continue to be vulnerable. The community is calling on City Hall to bring the policy back immediately."
Santa Monica City Councilmembers Ana Maria Jara and Sue Himmelrich will join more than 60 hotel housekeepers for the rally at 5 p.m. on the steps of City Hall, officials said.
Community and faith leaders also will attend the rally, they said.
UNITE HERE local 11 lists the Santa Monica ordinace among its accomplishments as it "continue(s) to lead the #MeToo movement."
"Hotel housekeepers are the only hospitality profession where women are tasked to work alone in guest rooms where there are no cameras, making them uniquely vulnerable to sexually threatening behavior," union officials said.
"It will protect the workers whose labor enables the Santa Monica tourism industry to thrive and pump funding into the City’s tax base."
Local laws with similar provisions have been approved in Chicago, New York, Seattle and Las Vegas, but Santa Monica's would be the first of its kind in Southern California, supporters said.
Union critics have denounced the ordinance, which they say was given the go-ahead by the Council with no staff report and scant public imput.
Union officials, they say, used the City's Commission on the Status of Women to cut and paste a measure they authored.
“Local 11 continues to push for a law that got a suspicious start at the City Council," said Charlyce Bozzello, communications manager at the Center for Union Facts.
"That could be potentially harmful to both workers and the city’s hospitality industry," she said.
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