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Workers vote to ratify contracts at nine area hotels; 15 others remain

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 12, 2018 Hotel workers from Unite Here, Local 11, demonstrated in fron
Hotel workers from Unite Here Local 11 demonstrate in front of the Beverly Wilshire, which does not yet have an agreement with the union to stave off a strike.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Union workers voted Friday to ratify contracts with nine high-end hotels in the Los Angeles area, avoiding what were expected to be noisy strikes during the holidays.

The vote came after hotel management and union leaders reached tentative contract agreements Thursday at three hotels in the Los Angeles area, and similar deals two days earlier at six other hotels in the region.

On Friday night, workers represented by Unite Here Local 11 voted 99% to approve contracts for all nine hotels. Union leaders say the contracts will raise hourly wages for room attendants to more than $25 by 2023, a 33% increase.

The contracts apply to about 3,000 housekeepers, hotel restaurant workers and front desk clerks, among others, at such hotels as the Loews Hollywood Hotel, the Sheraton Universal Hotel and the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, which is slated to host the Golden Globe Awards next month.

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“We are happy to have won this amazing contract,” said Ana Mendez, a housekeeper at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. “Too many of us live paycheck to paycheck. This is going to really change people’s lives.”

Contract deals are still not settled at 15 other hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including the swanky Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel, in Beverly Hills. An additional 4,500 workers are threatening to strike in the other 15 hotels if contracts are not signed.

In addition to higher wages, the contracts will offer more affordable health insurance plans, higher contributions from employers to the workers’ pensions and “panic buttons” that housekeepers can use to call for help if they are assaulted in isolated areas of the hotels.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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