HomeHotelsWhat To Know About The L.A. Hotel Strike—As Politicians Urge Taylor Swift To Postpone Tour In Solidarity
What To Know About The L.A. Hotel Strike—As Politicians Urge Taylor Swift To Postpone Tour In Solidarity
August 4, 2023
California state officials signed a letter asking Taylor Swift to stand with hotel workers and postpone her six Los Angeles shows as the union fights for better wages, benefits, workload and healthcare.
In an open letter by Unite Here Local 11, the union representing striking hotel workers from over 60 hotels like the Beverly Hilton and the Hyatt Regency LAX, Taylor Swift was asked to postpone her Los Angeles leg of her Eras tour, arguing nearby hotels could profit off traveling Swift fans before an agreement with the union is reached.
The letter was signed by over 50 California state officials, including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, and stated that hotels in the region are “doubling and tripling what they charge” because Swift is performing, yet workers are “struggling to make ends meet.”
Swift’s Los Angeles leg starts Thursday night and will feature six sold-out shows at the SoFi stadium in Inglewood, California, near Los Angeles.
The union previously published a letter addressed to Swift on July 27, comparing their situation to the singer’s infamous battle with Ticketmaster, saying the hotels “also add junk fees on rooms, just like Ticketmaster does,” but the workers “see none of it.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, hospitality workers at the Four Points Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Westin and Sheraton Gateway hotels near Los Angeles International Airport walked out Thursday morning at 5 a.m. in support of the strike.
On Thursday, the pop star announced she was adding additional stops on the North American leg of her Eras tour. The stops include places like three shows in New Orleans, three in Miami, three in Indianapolis and six in Canada. Swift also announced fellow pop star Gracie Abrams will be joining her on tour as her opening act.
The hotels’ contract with the union expired on June 30, and the strike began on July 2 with hospitality workers walking off the job for a few days at a time in four waves: July 2, July 10, July 20 and August 3. Not all workers strike at once—only those at a cluster of hotels walk out on specific days. Workers include housekeepers, cooks, front desk representatives, servers, dishwashers and bellmen. The union, which covers over 15,000 striking workers, claimed in a news release the strike is the “largest hotel worker strike in modern U.S. industry.” The union is demanding an immediate $5 increase in hourly wages, a $3 an hour annual increase over two years and a hospitality workforce housing fund to help workers with the high cost of living in Los Angeles, better healthcare, a pension and workload changes. The strike is driven partly by rising housing costs in the Los Angeles area, which resulted in 50% of hotel workers either moving within the past five years or planning on moving in the near future, according to the union. So far, only the Westin Bonaventure, the city’s largest hotel, has reached a tentative agreement with Unite Here Local 11. Some hotels have been affected by the strike, with conferences like the Japanese American Citizens League National Convention moving from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown to the union-approved Westin Bonaventure. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation postponed its convention that was supposed to be held at the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel on July 13 in solidarity. The Los Angeles Times reports guests have filed several noise complaints due to picketing and some protesting workers have reported being hit with eggs and having urine poured on them by passersby.
Management at 44 of the over 60 hotels are represented by the same group called the Coordinated Bargaining Group. In a statement to ABC7, the group said it offered a pay increase of $2.50 an hour for the first 12 months and an increase of $6.25 over four years, to which the union declined. The group said it’s “fully prepared” to continue hotel operations amid the strike.
$34.5 billion. That’s how much Los Angeles County made from the tourism industry in 2022, according to nonprofit Los Angeles Tourism. Hotel demand grew in 2022 by 96.3% from 2019’s levels, with almost 30 million hotel room nights sold. The organization estimates demand will reach 31 million room nights in 2023.
SAG-AFTRA—the union representing screen actors—and the Writer’s Guild of America, the union supporting screenwriters, are both on strike. These strikes coupled with the hotel workers’ strike have caused Los Angeles to face a widespread labor stoppage.
What To Watch For
Swift has yet to address the union’s requests. The first Los Angeles show is set to begin Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. PDT. Forbes has reached out to Swift’s team for comment.
Eras Tour Expands (Again): Taylor Swift Adds 15 North American Stops To The 2024 Leg Of Her Tour (Forbes)