Irvine Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance Will Finally Go into Effect!

Irvine Voters Stand by Hotel Housekeepers & Reject Hotel Corporations’ Half-Million Dollar Referendum To Block Law!

Over 500 voters officially revoked their signatures after learning the truth about hotel owners’ deceitful signature gatherers!

CLUE is so elated to announce that the hotel industry failed to collect the number of valid signatures required to referendize the Housekeeper Bill of Rights passed last November 2022 by the Irvine City Council!

Housekeepers fought to pass the bill just days before Thanksgiving last year, which provides: 

  1. working panic buttons and other security measures like 24-hour security to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and other threatening conduct;
  2. reinstatement of automatic daily room cleaning (Many hotels took advantage of the pandemic by never returning to common practices like daily room cleanings, which helped hotels limit hiring back former staff, and increase loads on returning staff);
  3. and measures that ensure fair compensation for heavy workloads.

Led by Hyatt Hotels and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the industry spent over half a million dollars to defeat a law that would protect women from assault on the job and provide fair compensation for heavy workloads. Their efforts proved unsuccessful and voters in Irvine rejected their message and stood by Irvine’s hospitality workers. 

Maria Balderas, housekeeper at the Irvine Hilton, was one of several who repeatedly and courageously spoke at Irvine City Council (in front of over a dozen hotel owners and representatives) about violence she’d experienced on the job.

“My coworkers and I fought hard to pass the Housekeeper Bill of Rights in Irvine, and we are glad voters believed in the will of the City Council and us when we told them what we needed.”

Irvine resident, and Temple Bat Yahm member, Dee Thieneswas one of over 500 voters who revoked their signatures after learning they were deceived by hotel industry canvassers into signing their repeal petition:

“In November a signature gatherer came to my home, explaining that the petition he was holding was to “further protect hotel housekeeping workers’ rights” after the City of Irvine announced their ordinance. We talked about protecting workers, and in particular vulnerable women. What he didn’t tell me was that he was hired by hotel corporations, and that it was actually to repeal the new hotel worker protection law, and so unfortunately I signed their petition.

When I learned the truth about what I had signed, I went to a nearby supermarket to confront another petitioner, who also insisted that the petition was to “guarantee the protection of female hotel workers”. This petitioner, however, finally admitted he was working for the hotel owners.

Enraged, I then revoked my signature with the Irvine City Clerk.

This was such a deceitful campaign targeting people who are sympathetic to women’s rights.”

Ada Briceño, co-president UNITE HERE Local 11:

The hotel industry lied to voters to protect their bottom line. In the end, voters saw through the sham and believed women.”

Irvine has now become the first city in Orange County to pass increased protections for housekeepers! California cities such as Long Beach, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Glendale and Los Angeles have also passed similar ordinances.

Our gratitude again goes out to the faith & lay leaders in Irvine who sent a letter supporting hotel workers to city council members, invited workers to come speak to their congregation, and in many cases notified congregants about the deceitful signature gatherers.

Above: We’re grateful to our friends at Irvine United Congregational Church — including retired pastor Rev. Jerry von Talge, and Deacon Ken Wyant — who invited hotel worker, Antonio Alzati, and organizer, Marbella de Dios, to speak about the ordinance during two of their services on Sunday, September 4th, 2022.