Workers plan Rose Parade day pickets amid union’s tentative deals with more hotels

Unite Here Local 11 has made more progress in contract talks with hotels ahead of the holidays. The union said Friday it had secured tentative agreements with three downtown L.A. properties as well as a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport.

The agreements cover roughly 800 workers at the InterContinental, Hotel Indigo and E- Central in downtown L.A. — and the Sheraton Gateway LAX.

In all, the union representing hospitality workers has reached tentative agreements with 24 hotels total, out of some 60 properties in Los Angeles and Orange counties initially targeted by intermittent strikes that started in July.

Unite Here Local 11 spokesperson Maria Hernandez has said the contracts make major gains in raising wages, strengthening pensions and increasing investments in healthcare. The union has declined to give specifics on wages and other economic details of the agreements it has reached so far, and the contracts have not yet been put to a vote by workers.

In early December Unite Here Local 11 had escalated pressure on Sheraton Gateway LAX with a round-the-clock picket line, where workers set up tents and camped outside the hotel for four days and three nights in shifts. The protest had targeted hotels near LAX because they have some of the most depressed wages relative to other hotels, according to union organizers.

Hernandez said Friday that the union is planning picket lines at the Rose Bowl during the annual Rose Parade held on New Year’s Day to turn up the heat on the Hilton Pasadena and other hotels in Pasadena that are without contracts.

The Hilton Pasadena is among eight hotels involved in talks with the union that are operated by Aimbridge Hospitality, which union officials and others have lambasted for hiring unhoused refugees from Venezuela and Colombia to replace workers during recent strikes targeting at least two hotels it operates.

In an emailed statement Friday, Unite Here Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen called out Aimbridge, as well as equity firms Blackstone Group and Ensemble.

“We applaud the 24 hotels that have reached settlements. But we are disgusted with greedy private equity hotel owners like Aimbridge and Blackstone that are focused on profits rather than the welfare of their workers and the reputation of our city,” Petersen said. “If they want to prolong this dispute, we have no choice but to strike during the Rose Bowl festivities.”

Ensemble has been based in Long Beach since 1996 and acquired the Hotel Maya in 2005, which at the time was called Coast Hotel; it was renovated into the Hotel Maya, as a DoubleTree by Hilton brand. Hotel Maya is among several hotels cited in complaints the union has filed with the National Labor Relations Board for violence that flared against workers on the picket line. The firm also owns Hyatt Place Pasadena.

A real estate affiliate of Blackstone Group owns Fairfield Inn & Suites and Aloft hotels in El Segundo. Unite Here Local 11 in July accused Fairfield of failing to hire Black workers as full-time employees while bringing in Black workers as replacement labor.

Spokespeople with Aimbridge Hospitality, Ensemble and the Blackstone Group did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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