Since its beginning, CLUE LA has proudly walked beside workers in the
hospitality industry who are fighting in their workplaces for safer, more
humane working conditions, decent wages, and access to health care. Hotel
work is difficult, dirty, and often invisible to the average customer. Few
people know the level of work it takes to maintain a comfortable and hospitable
space in our city’s expensive luxury hotels, or the human cost of that luxury.
Luxury hotel workers are susceptible to high rates of injury because of crippling
workloads(Please insert a link to the accompanying PDF document I sent on
Hotel Housekeep Fact sheet.) , often make poverty wages, and are denied respect
on the job. Without a union or community support, workers who are fighting
for change are easily fired or discriminated against. All across Los Angeles
and the South bay, hotel workers are fighting for decent workplace standards.
Religious leaders across LA have brought prophetic witness to this struggle,
offering workers chaplaincy when they are retaliated against by management,
visiting management and asking for a process for unionization, employing the
ancient symbols of our faith to perform foot washing and healing services
in the street, and speaking at city council and other venues to help ensure
a better future for the people who create a home away from home for Los Angeles’
guests. After an outpouring of support from religious and community leaders
and workers, Los Angeles City Council members passed a historic living wage
law in the Fall of 2006, requiring tourism industry corporations to meet a
fair standard for wages and benefits – for the purpose of both economic justice
and community improvement. After a victorious yearlong court battle, the law
has been implemented.
How You Can Help
We encourage all people of faith to how they are spending their dollars when
they travel. There are many hotel options in Los Angeles and the surrounding
communities where workers have safe work loads, enjoy a decent wage, and have
access to health care for themselves and their families. Please choose one
of these hotels when choosing to travel in our area. To find out if the hotel
of your choices meets these standards, visit http://www.hotelworkersrising.org/HotelGuide.
Be sure to always check the status of your hotel. If you are signing a contract
for an event or for a group, ensure your own investment by including protective
language in your contract. For more critical tips to choosing a good hotel,
and avoiding labor unrest during your stay or event please see helpful hints
Please be aware of two area hotel boycotts that workers at those hotels have
asked guests to honor until they have a fair union contract.
Angeles: For more than five years, workers at the LAX Hilton have
been struggling for a fair path to unionization. Over the years, despite firings,
OSHA violation, and other work place difficulties workers have remained strong
and determined in their desire for union representation. Despite repeated
requests from local community leaders, prominent religious leaders, politicians,
and the workers themselves the LAX Hilton has refused to extend neutrality
to these workers in their struggle to organize. Several years ago the workers
themselves called for a Boycott. The Boycott asks all people not to eat, sleep,
or spend money of any kind at the LAX Hilton until the hotel is willing to
agree to a fair organizing process. The CLUE LAX Clergy Committee has been
monthly during the course of this campaign, and have agreed to support this
critical tool of the workers. Please read their letter explaining the Boycott here.
Long Beach: A Boycott is also in effect in Long Beach at the Long
Beach Hilton. The city of Long Beach has invested millions of dollars into
hotel projects and development. Unfortunately the workers in those hotels
remain impoverished, with poor access to affordable health care, and desperate
for change. The workers at the Long Beach Hilton have met with intense resistance
from their hotel employers in their attempt to organize a union and have asked
all potential visitors to observe a worker called Boycott. Please do not eat,
sleep, or meet at the Long Beach Hilton until workers have a guarantee of
neutrality from their employers. Please read critical workers stories, economic
impact studies, and more here.
To help support these workers who are fighting for a better future for their
families, or to learn more about these or other ongoing hotel workers support
campaigns in the area, please contact the following.
For LAX Area Hotels: Maggie
Potthoff: mpotthoff (at) cluela.org.
For Long Beach Area Hotels: Hal Steinberg:
hsteinberg (at) cluela.org.
For The Hyatt Hotel National Fight: Rabbi Jonathan
Klein jklein (at) cluela.org.