Hotel strike nears end as union reaches more tentative deals with holdouts

Members of Unite Here! Local 11
Members of Unite Here! Local 11 hotel workers union and members of the Writers Guild of America picket together outside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica on July 13, 2023.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The almost 10-month-old strike that initially involved roughly 60 hotels and more than 15,000 workers in Los Angeles and Orange counties is nearing its end.

In late April, the powerful hospitality union Unite Here Local 11 announced it had reached tentative contract agreements with 12 Southern California hotels. And on Friday, Unite Here Local 11 officials said the union had negotiated agreements with six more hotels in recent days.

So far, nearly three dozen other hotels have reached deals with workers over the course of on-and-off strikes that began in July. The new contracts awarded higher pay and other benefits to thousands of housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, servers and front desk workers .


“Hotels are falling in line,” Unite Here Local 11 co-President Kurt Petersen said. “We’re winning more the longer this goes on.”

Stephanie Peterson, a spokesperson for Aimbridge Hospitality, which operates six hotels that recently settled, said in a statement: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Union that puts our people first, and we are taking the immediate steps to begin issuing the backpay our associates have been waiting for.”

The new contracts include an almost immediate raise of $5 per hour for workers who don’t typically earn tips, including front desk clerks, dishwashers and housekeepers.

Those workers will see a total hourly wage boost of $10 over the course of the contract that expires in January 2028.

Hotel Figueroa, LA Grand and Glendale Hilton are among nine hotels whose owners remain in contract negotiations with the union.

A point of contention had been the practice of some hotels recruiting recent migrants living in a Skid Row shelter to replace striking employees.


In a compromise, four hotels agreed to give the migrant workers priority in hiring for permanent positions. The hotels include the Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica, the Four Points by Sheraton, the Holiday Inn LAX and the Pasadena Hilton.

“This is a testament to the idea of no workers left behind,” Petersen said. “Our members saw workers exploited and had a sense of solidarity. The bosses’ plan to divide people didn’t work.”

As part of the union’s agreement with Sheraton Park Anaheim, workers who had raised allegations of sexual harassment and were banned from the property will be brought back to work.

Fairfield Inn & Suites and Aloft hotels in El Segundo, which are owned by a real estate affiliate of the Blackstone Group, also approved deals with the union.

Blackstone Group spokesman Jeffrey Kauth said, “The agreement substantially increases wages and benefits over the term of the contract and provides a framework to recognize a broader number of employees who will benefit from these increases. We are proud to continue our positive working relationship with the union.”

During months of strikes, tensions have surged on picket lines at various hotels and have continued at some locations even after deals were reached.


Outside the Hilton Pasadena, a worker and two union members who were picketing were issued noise citations by local police and are facing criminal charges for using handheld bullhorns.

At a City Council meeting Monday, the union along with advocates with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sharply criticized the city for pursuing the charges.

Peter J. Eliasberg, chief counsel at the ACLU of Southern California, sent a letter May 15 to Pasadena’s City Council members, chief of police and city attorney urging the city to drop the charges, saying they “very likely violate the First Amendment and Liberty of Speech Clause of the California Constitution.”

Video footage captured by the union’s general counsel, Jeremy Blasi, and reviewed by The Times, shows two police officers recording decibel measurements of several picketers on a public sidewalk a few feet away.

“The City supports the free speech rights of protesters and does not take sides in disputes, but must balance the rights of those protesting with those nearby residents and businesses impacted by protest activities,” Lisa Derderian, a spokesperson for Pasadena, said in an emailed statement.

Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo said the city planned to review issues raised by the ordinance, but said he couldn’t comment on the claims.


Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson called the deal a “historic contract agreement that ensures hospitality workers will have the dignity of living wages and industry-leading benefits to support their families,” according to a Unite Here Local 11 news release in April.

“Over the next four years, as we prepare for the 2028 Olympics and welcome visitors from around the world to our vibrant Long Beach community, we can be proud that our local tourism economy continues to thrive, while placing value on the workforce that keeps our hospitality industry running,” Richardson said.