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Thousands of Southern California hotel workers on verge of striking


Southern California hotel workers are calling for a vote to authorize a strike.

According to the Los Angeles Times , contracts are expiring for 15,000 workers at hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Those include luxury hotels like the Westin Bonaventure and the Beverly Wilshire.

UNITE HERE Local 11 says pay and benefits have not kept up with inflation and want the reality of post-pandemic work to be reflected in their new contract.

If not, thousands will go on strike when their current deal ends on June 30.

Union officials say negotiations have been sluggish and a strike during the busy summer travel season will convince hotel operators to consider pay increases.

"We're ready to demand what we deserve," said Ana Mendez, who's been working in the hotel industry for 20 years. "We're not asking anything that's not reasonable, we're asking for what we deserve."

This week, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved to a request a financial report on the impacts of raising service industry workers' pay to $25 an hour and eventually $30.

The proposal is already receiving resistance from small hotel owners.

"These are minimum wage jobs," said North East Los Angeles Hotel Owners Association President Ray Patel. "They're great for college students, people that newly immigrate to America, they come and take these jobs in hotels, they have goals set to educate themselves in colleges or learn a trade or vocational training or they have dreams that they want to pursue in college. Those are the ones who take these jobs."

Los Angeles is slated to host mega events like the 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Olympics and service workers at hotels and the Los Angeles International Airport want to see a pay bump before working those events.

"This took a while us airport workers too kind of thrive and we been getting by little by little, but with everything going up, we really need this legislation to pass," said LAX passenger service agent Armando Munoz.

The union's strike authorization vote is set for June 8.
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