Hotel security and striking workers clashed Saturday as tensions rose outside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.
Police officers were called to get the strikers off the property after some rushed past a barricade set up by the hotel. Workers represented by Unite Here Local 11 picketed outside the hotel in an effort to make their demands known.
“The bare minimum they deserve is to be able to work to live, not just survive,” said a protester named Victoria.
Unite Here Local 11 authorized the strike in July after their contract with hotels expired. Agreements remain unresolved between the union and hotels including the Four Seasons Regent Beverly Wilshire, Fairmont Miramar, Ritz-Carlton, Anaheim Hilton, JW Marriott LA Live and the Beverly Hilton.
The union represents workers such as room attendants, cooks, dishwashers, front desk agents and servers at 61 hotels across Los Angeles County. Among the demands the union is hoping to solidify is an immediate $5 hourly raise for its workers, who earn $20 to $25 an hour.
“This is the bottom of the middle class,” Rev. Jim Conn of the Church in Ocean Park said. He was among those on the picket line. “If they get $30 an hour, that’s still barely into the middle class and it means that they’re barely able to afford an apartment in LA.”
Union officials said a survey of its members revealed 53% of them said they moved in the past five years or have plans to move due to housing costs in Los Angeles.
In a statement provided by representatives of the hotels’ association, hotels impacted by the work stoppages will remain open. It said the union has “shown zero interest” in bargaining with them.
“Local 11 has not budged in any meaningful way from its original proposal in April. That is not good faith negotiations,” the statement read.
The statement added the hotel association offered a $2 hourly wage increase with another $1 bump within 11 months. Additionally, it’s offering “a total of $6.25 hour over less than 4 years plus up to $1.50” so employees can maintain their health care coverage.