Lazy eyes listen
In the US state of California, over 15,000 hotel workers are on strike, seeking higher wages and benefits, in a labor slowdown that has left hotels unable to accommodate customers during the popular Fourth of July vacation.
The strike, which began on Sunday, was described as “the largest multi-hotel strike” in the state’s history by UNITE HERE Local 11. It went on to say that its employees, which include bellhops, front desk representatives, and room attendants, want “better wages, healthcare benefits, pensions, and safe workloads.”
The union has also asked an immediate $5 increase in hourly wages, which it claims is required due to the state’s soaring housing prices. Meanwhile, employers have attacked the labor movement for refusing to negotiate on its demands.
“Our members were devastated first by the pandemic, and now by the greed of their bosses,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. He went on to say that “the industry got bailouts while we got cuts.” Last month, the union voted to sanction the strike.
Keith Grossman, a spokesperson for 44 of the businesses impacted by the strike, stated that hotels are “fully prepared to continue operating” and will “take care of our guests for the duration of this disruption.” The walkout affects more than 60 hotels and roughly half of the 32,000 workers represented by the union in the state.
The walkout occurs during the busy Fourth of July holiday season in the United States. It also coincides with a major anime conference, which has attracted a sizable crowd to Los Angeles.
The union had encouraged customers to “not eat, sleep, or meet” at the hotels involved in the strike, many of which had hired temporary workers to cover for absent staff, in a message on its website.
The strike is the state of California’s newest industrial action. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) initiated a strike in early May, affecting the state’s and beyond’s television and film industries. There have also been strikes, with a Los Angeles school district closing for three days after protests from workers such as bus drivers and custodians, and schoolteachers in Oakland.