30 Arrested in Santa Monica Hotel Protest
Several hundred union protesters blocked traffic for 25 minutes at a key Santa Monica intersection, where they staged a mock trial of the nonunion Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Police arrested about 30 who sat in the middle of Ocean Avenue at Colorado Boulevard, as supporters whistled, banged drums and chanted, “No justice, no peace!” The demonstration was the culmination of four days of action by the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees union, which is seeking to organize luxury hotels along the Santa Monica beach and in downtown Los Angeles. The campaign at Loews was announced about a month ago, and the debate quickly polarized. Union organizers say the hotel is intimidating and misleading employees. They want Loews to recognize the union if a majority of employees sign cards in favor of it. The hotel, however, has insisted on a federally supervised secret ballot election.