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    Workers at 34 Southern California hotels getting pay hikes, other perks
    • March 25, 2024

    Workers at 34 Southern California hotels hailed new labor contracts Monday that will boost wages by $10 an hour over four years, ending months of protests and rallies for thousands of employees.

    The cooks, room attendants, dishwashers and others represented by Unite Here Local 11 were part of a massive labor strike that has seen more than 10,000 workers at 53 hotels stage walkouts, protests and picket lines since the labor action began on July 1, 2023.

    Finalized contracts include the Anaheim Hilton, Courtyard Los Angeles L.A. Live, Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel and Irvine Marriott, among others.

    Also see: See the list of 34 Southern California hotels voting on contracts this week

    Labor disputes are ongoing at dozens of other hotels — including the Hotel Figueroa, Hotel Maya, Doubletree Downtown Los Angeles and the LA Grand.

    “There are still 25 to 30 contracts that have to be finished,” Unite Here co-President President Kurt Petersen said. “Many of them are very close. If any employer has a doubt, they need to know they are already defeated. It is time to sign!”

    Pete Hillan, a spokesperson for California Hotel & Lodging Association, welcomed the finalized labor agreements.

    “The ratification votes are a long time coming,” Hillan said in a statement. “We’re glad that hotel employees who have been waiting months now can enjoy the benefits of new contracts, including increased compensation, and continue the great work they do for our guests and our communities.”

    The Beverly Hilton is among 34 Southern California hotels that have ratified labor agreements with Unite Here Local 11. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Significant pay increases

    Under new four-year contracts, many room attendants, cooks and other non-tipped workers at most of the hotels will get a $5 hourly pay increase in the first year, or an additional $850 monthly or $10,400 a year.

    They’ll see a $10-an-hour pay bump, or an increase of up to 50%, over the course of the labor agreements, which expire Jan. 15, 2028, the union said.

    Most room attendants will earn $35 an hour, or $73,000 a year, by July 1, 2027, Unite Here said, while top cooks will make $41 an hour, or $85,000 a year. When benefits are added in, a hotel will pay $100,000 annually to employ a single room attendant.

    “The most significant achievement is what we won in the first year,” Petersen said. “Because housing costs have soared, we put $5 an hour on the table for the first year. That’s a 20% increase for most workers.”

    Tipped workers also will get double-time pay for holidays, vacation and sick days, as well as increases in their share of service charges. An automatic 20% gratuity in full-service restaurants will likewise be shared 100% among staff.

    Unite Here said the wage increases will ensure workers can remain housed and have the opportunity to live in the communities where they work as rents continue to soar, and money flows into the region with the World Cup & Olympics.

    Brenda Mendoza, a uniform attendant at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown LA for 14 years,  will earn an extra $5 an hour, or $10,400 a year, under the new agreement.

    “It means I don’t have to put in extra hours to make ends meet,” the 42-year-old Apple Valley resident said. “It means that I won’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.”

    Arturo Huezo, who has worked in housekeeping at the Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica hotel for 30 years, lauded the contract’s preservation of healthcare coverage.

    “The healthcare we were able to keep for me is life-saving,” he said. “I was able to beat cancer, thanks to the medical care I received, and because of that I found the strength to beat this fight, too.”

    Under the new contracts, workers pay no more than $20 a month for full family coverage.

    Employees will also see their employers’ contribution to their pension fund increase by 600% from their last labor contract in 2018, the union said.

    The new contract also restores mandatory daily room cleaning and guarantees pre-pandemic staffing levels.

    ​ Orange County Register