In the wake of the pandemic, the tourism industry, a crucial component of the region’s economy, has experienced unprecedented levels of success. However, the hardworking hospitality workers have been left struggling to maintain their livelihoods and even their homes. These workers face unparalleled challenges. With more than 100 contracts expiring this year, the organization aims to raise wages and secure stable housing for workers who support themselves or their families on an average housekeeper’s wage of $18.86/hr in Los Angeles.
Laborers such as room attendants, cooks, dishwashers, food service workers, event center staff, and front desk agents have united in a plea for reasonable compensation and improved benefits. CLUE is partnering with Local 11 with expiring contracts to advocate for equitable compensation and housing stability for workers in Los Angeles. Together, the workers have urged CA Democrats to join them in their fight for fair wages that accommodate escalating rent, pension, healthcare, and reasonable workloads. This collective effort aims to empower laborers to live and thrive in the city they support through their tireless efforts.
CLUE firmly supports workers in the hospitality, service, healthcare, and other sectors as they fight for the ability to thrive as valued members of society. We hold the belief that every individual has the right to achieve their highest potential and that all people are equal, one-of-a-kind, and of immense value. Low-wage workers deserve to have power and it is our conviction that one full-time job should suffice to cover basic needs. Therefore, we stand together with workers, insisting upon dignity, justice, and fair employment conditions.
For more than 2 years, UNITE HERE! Local 11 (UH11) and CLUE have been emphasizing the connections between housing justice and the struggles of hotel and hospitality workers as being integrally linked, not only collaborating deeply with housing justice coalitions, but also pursuing specific policy and demands that will uplift the ability of both low-wage workers and all Angelenos to continue to live in their communities with dignity.
The general situation here in Southern California – of the deep unaffordability of housing that is resulting both in gentrification and displacement pressure on BIPOC and working class communities, and in the struggles of the unhoused, are well known to many of us.
The union has been emphasizing the reality – shared with so many other kinds of workers – that their members have too often been displaced from their communities and have to commute hours each day from Apple Valley, Palmdale, Barstow and so on. Therefore they are fighting not only for transformative wages for their members, but also a more just and equitable housing system where not only hospitality workers, but also all Angelenos, can afford to live.
Last year for the Election, UH11 was on the steering committee of the transformative housing justice initiative Measure ULA (United to House LA), and we as CLUE had the honor of convening and organizing the Faith Caucus of that campaign, contributing to our incredible victory!
As you might know, Measure ULA will be a game changer in fairly taxing the most expensive real estate in the City of Los Angeles in order to build, convert and sustain affordable and supportive housing while also investing in tenant education and eviction defense.
The union’s leadership on Measure ULA is just one example of their comprehensiveness of their vision for housing justice, in deep coalition with coalition partners.
And throughout this year, UH11 and CLUE have been centering housing affordability as a vital component and perhaps even dominant theme of this year’s campaign for livable wages and fair working conditions as contracts get renewed.
In January we had a march and rally in Downtown LA with more than 1,000 workers and allies, asking the hospitality industry to join us in supporting the Responsible Hotel Ordinance.
In February, hundreds of community members and tourism industry workers joined together in Santa Monica to demand a wage hike to be able to afford to rent in the city where they work.
In April, we stood with workers as they held a “Stations of the Workers Cross” event on Good Friday.
In May, as contract negotiations between workers and hotel and hospitality corporations, began, the workers proposed a small surcharge to hotel bills (which would be no problem at all if they were to get rid of their many other, sometimes questionable, fees) that would go to a fund to build and support housing for employees of that industry and of those hotels.
And so Thursday, June 22, we’re going to join together as workers and community allies to demand both a life-changing contract for workers and their families and communities, but also a transformative vision for housing justice for Angelenos!