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Workers Ratify Union Contracts at 2 Local Hotels


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By Jorge Casuso

March 25, 2024 -- Workers at two Santa Monica hotels overwhelmingly voted to ratify union contracts Monday, but protests will continue at five others where agreements have not been reached, union officials said.

The Fairmont Miramar and Le Merigot were among 34 Southern California hotels that saw workers approve tentative agreements that will provide "unprecedented wage increases, benefits and rights," Unite HERE Local 11 announced.

Under the new contracts, workers will see wages rise by $10 -- or 40 to 50 percent -- by the end of the contract in January 2028, according to union officials.

By July 2027, housekeepers at most of the hotels will earn $35 per hour, or $73,000 a year, while top cooks will earn $41 per hour, or $85,000 a year, union officials told the LA Times.

The increases "will ensure that workers can remain housed and have the opportunity to live in the communities where they work as rents continue to soar, and money flows into the region with the World Cup & Olympics."

The contracts also provide "excellent low-cost healthcare" for workers and their families and guarantee "fair workloads and pre-pandemic staffing guarantees, along with automatic daily room cleaning," union officials said.

Monday's vote comes after the union launched intermittent strikes that began during Independence Day weekend last year.

“The ratification votes are a long time coming," Pete Hillan, spokesperson for the California Hotel & Lodging Association, said in a statement.

"We’re glad that hotel employees who have been waiting months now can enjoy the benefits of new contracts, including increased compensation, and continue the great work they do for our guests and our communities.”

The Miramar contract was ratified after the iconic Santa Monica hotel -- which was a main target of sometimes tense protests -- reached a tentative agreement with the union in January ("Union, Miramar Reach Tentative Agreement," January 8, 2024).

Le Merigot -- which was not one of the hotels targeted by the union -- reached a tentative agreement in November, less than two years after its current owners signed a union contract ("Union Reaches Tentative Agreement with Santa Monica Hotel," November 20, 2023).

That leaves five Santa Monica hotels -- Le Meridien Delfina, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites, Viceroy and Proper -- that remain embroiled in contentious negotiations.

They are among the "dozens of hotels" where disputes remain unsettled, union officials said Monday. "At these hotels, workers continue to strike, picket, or boycott for their contract."

“Every greedy hotel who is still failing to meet the new standard, listen up!" union co-president Kurt Petersen said in a statement. "We are not stopping until all workers get what they deserve.”

Protests staged by the union have drawn the ire of neighboring residents, who complain they are awakened in the early morning hours by megaphones, whistles and banging drums.

An item placed on last week's agenda by Mayor Phil Brock and Councilmember Lana Negrete to tweak the City's noise ordinance was pulled for lack of support, Brock said.

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