Thousands of workers in Los Angeles have gathered together in the largest strike in the history of Souithern California. The protest involves a massive number of hotel sector employees who were demanding better working conditions and respect for their wages. The current labor state makes it difficult for housing, as low-income workers can barely afford rent with the city’s expensive prices. The event took place last Sunday, July 2, during the Fourth of July extended holiday.
Los Angeles and Orange Counties were the zones in which the strike congregated the most protestors. Reportedly, there were over 15,000 cooks, dishwashers, housekeepers, bellhops, and receptionists. They were all former employees of more than 60 major hotel services in Los Angeles, and they began the strike one day after their contract had expired. They have been blaming hotels for giving them a bigger workload amount after the pandemic, and for paying worse wages in return. About the reasons for the protest, Unite Here Local 11 Spokesperson, Maria Hernandez said:
“Since the pandemic the hotels took advantage, and laid off huge chunks of their workers. So you had members struggling to stay housed, to pay for food, to stay healthy during the pandemic. Meanwhile, these same hotels were receiving 15 billion in pandemic ball-out.”
Fortunately, a tentative deal was reached with the Union’s biggest employer, Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles City. This hotel has employed more than 600 union workers. The new agreement is set to provide h higher wages, increased staffing levels and better working conditions. According to the protesting group, hotels have offered $2.50 per hour pay and $6.25 over four years.