Jul 3, 2023 - Economy

Thousands of Southern California hotel workers go on strike

Hotel workers with Unite Here Local 11 picket outside the InterContinental hotel on the first day of a strike by union members at many major hotels in Southern California on July 2, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Hotel workers with Unite Here Local 11 picket outside the InterContinental hotel in Los Angeles on the first day of a strike by union members at many major hotels in Southern California on Sunday. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Thousands of hotel workers in Southern California walked off the job Sunday in what the Unite Here Local 11 union is calling the "largest" strike in the industry in U.S history.

Driving the news: Members of the union last month voted 96% in favor of strike action during the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend to demand higher pay and better benefits.

  • Contracts at over 60 hotels expired at midnight on Friday.

The big picture: Los Angeles and Orange counties were affected by the strike involving some 15,000 cooks, room attendants, bellhops, servers, dishwashers and front-desk agents, according to the union.

  • The first to go on strike Sunday were about 500 workers from the InterContinental and Indigo hotels in downtown L.A., per the Los Angeles Times.

What they're saying: "Our members were devastated first by the pandemic and now by the greed of their bosses," said union co-president Kurt Petersen in a statement to media.

The other side: "We are fully prepared to continue to operate these hotels and to take care of our guests as long as this disruption lasts," Keith Grossman, an attorney representing a coalition of hotels affected by the strike, told the Los Angeles Times.

  • "We also remain available to meet with the union whenever its leaders decide to make themselves available to resume negotiations."
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