Threat of Hotel Worker Strikes Still Looms in Los Angeles

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel is a strike target in Los Angeles.

A tentative agreement was reached Dec. 19 between six Los Angeles hotels and Unite Here Local 11, the hotel-workers union. Employees of 24 area hotels voted overwhelmingly on Dec. 6 to strike a week later if a new contract was not ratified, leaving 18 properties in L.A. and Orange County at risk of a walkout. 

The tentative deal affects the J.W. Marriott and Courtyard Marriott at L.A. Live, as well as the SLS in Beverly Hills, the W Hollywood, the W Westwood and the Sheraton Grand near downtown L.A. Nearly 2,000 Unite Here members are employed at the six hotels.

"This agreement is breathtaking, not just for the terms of the contract, but because it also sets a standard for hotel workers in the region," said Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, in a statement. "Our contract will put $200 million in the pockets of our workers and the L.A. economy. We're changing this town for hospitality workers."

Contracts for 7,500 workers at the 24 hotels expired Nov. 30, and tensions have been mounting. Hotel workers' demands include a base pay of $25 an hour, affordable health care, panic buttons for housekeepers, increased pensions and stronger protections for immigrants. 

This has been a year of unprecedented strikes, with hotel workers picketing for months in Boston, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Honolulu. Those actions were settled, with workers winning new four-year contracts that met many of their demands -- and buoying the resolve of those in L.A.