L.A. Grand Hotel Workers Strike for Fair Wages and Safe Conditions

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L.A. Grand Hotel workers demand higher wages and increased staffing outside City Hall. (Photo courtesy of Ringo Chiu on Shutterstock)

Los Angeles, CA – Dozens of L.A. Grand Hotel workers took to the streets on Wednesday, staging a strike and “occupying” a section of the sidewalk outside City Hall. Their demand: increased staffing and better wages.

Operating under Mayor Karen Bass’ Inside Safe initiative, which provides vacant rooms to unhoused Angelenos, the L.A. Grand Hotel has become a focal point for labor activism. Represented by the labor union Unite Here Local 11, the workers are making their voices heard loud and clear.

Ana Pineda, a housekeeper at the hotel for 17 years, emphasized the grueling nature of their work and the need for adequate staffing levels to ensure sustainability. “In order for work to be sustainable, we need the company and the city to increase staffing levels,” Pineda stated.

Responding to the strike, Zach Seidl, Bass’ deputy mayor of communications, underscored the city’s commitment to both protecting workers and providing shelter for vulnerable residents. “The Grand houses hundreds of the most vulnerable Angelenos, and our office will continue to do all we can to save lives and ensure workers are treated fairly,” Seidl affirmed.

The workers are also demanding accountability from the city in addressing what they describe as an “untenable situation” at the hotel. Additionally, they are urging action to address alleged violence experienced by workers on strike lines, purportedly at the hands of hotel security personnel hired by the city.

Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, emphasized the importance of protecting workers facing dangerous conditions. “For more than a year, they have been asking the city and the operator to protect hotel workers facing dangerous working conditions inside their workplace and violence on the picket line,” Petersen emphasized.

The backdrop of the strike includes a history of legal troubles for the hotel’s management. In May 2023, Shen Zhen New World, the hotel’s operator, was fined $4 million and placed on probation for fraud and bribery charges related to attempts to secure city approval for a skyscraper project.

The strike at the L.A. Grand Hotel is part of a broader labor movement in the Southland, with workers across various hotels in L.A. and Orange counties advocating for fair treatment. While tentative contract agreements have been reached with many hotels, the L.A. Grand remains a holdout.

The workers’ demands include wage increases to address the rising cost of living in Los Angeles, access to quality health insurance, a pension plan, and manageable workloads.

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