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Workers at Nearly 3 Dozen Hotels Set to Ratify Contracts


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By Jorge Casuso

March 20, 2024 -- Workers at 34 Southern California hotels -- including the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica -- will vote Thursday on whether to ratify tentative labor agreements negotiated by the hotel workers union.

Dozens of other hotels that have been negotiating contracts have not reached agreements with Unite HERE Local 11, which has been staging intermittent walkouts and holding protests since early July.

Negotiations between the union and a bargaining group representing the hotels stalled nearly a year ago, primarily over disagreements over wages and benefits.

The union has been seeking an immediate $5 an hour raise for all union workers with an additional $3 an hour in subsequent years of the contract ("Five Santa Monica Hotels Targeted in Third Wave of Union Strikes," August 4, 2023).

The bargaining group has offered to increase the hourly wage by $2 per hour immediately after ratification and another $1 per hour on July 1, 2024.

In addition to the wage increases, the union is seeking improved health care and pension benefits, which the bargaining group says would be secured for the next four years under its offer.

Union officials have said the terms of the tentative agreements are similar to those agreed to by the Miramar Hotel in January ("Union, Miramar Reach Tentative Agreement," January 8, 2024).

The agreement provides "unprecedented wage increases that keep pace with the soaring cost of housing" and "affordable, excellent family healthcare," union officials said.

It also provides "humane workloads and safe staffing," "improved pension increases" and "historic Equal Justice language" that gives "access to union jobs for formerly incarcerated individuals and strong immigration protections."

Four Santa Monica hotels -- Le Meridien Delfina, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites and Viceroy hotels -- have not reached tentative agreements after negotiations stalled last April.

Last week, workers at Proper Santa Monica walked out on strike, according to Unite HERE Local 11.

The hold-out hotels continue to be the target of protests staged by the union that have drawn the ire of neighboring residents, who complain they are awakened in the early morning hours by megaphones, whistles and banging drums.

Union officials said on Wednesday that the protests will continue at hotels that fail to reach agreements.

"We have won an unprecedented agreement in every way, from wages, pension, and healthcare to job security, to fair staffing guarantees," Kurt Petersen, the union's co-president said in a statement Tuesday.

"But our members' tenacity and fearlessness is even more impressive. No one has fought harder to win a living wage, sacrificing pay and overcoming physical violence and abuse than room attendants, cooks and servers. They are heroes.

“And this dogged determination should signal to the rest that we will not stop until every worker has won the same magnificent contract,” Petersen said.

Union officials said they will announce ratification results and the terms of the agreements on Monday.

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