Does Local 11 Really Want Hotels to Reopen?

Unite Here Local 11 recently scored some splashy news headlines after pushing through the Hospitality Workers Right to Return bill. The legislation requires California employers in the hospitality industry to rehire workers laid off during the pandemic once tourism comes back to the state.

But those jobs are only coming back if business ramps up at Golden State hotels. In Los Angeles County, Local 11 is doing everything it can to prevent that from happening.

The union sent out a mailer recently (which was forwarded to us by a concerned community member) that promotes the union’s bogus and arbitrary hotel grading system designed to keep patrons away from non-unionized hotels. This includes the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes and Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, two hotels the union has targeted with corporate campaigns designed to undermine employees’ right to a secret ballot representation election.

Local 11 grades hotels on whether or not they have “enforceable COVID-19 safety rights,” “healthcare coverage” and “safe recall rights” — but only if these rights are “guaranteed in an agreement with workers.” That means any hotel without a union contract doesn’t make the grade — despite the fact that these non-unionized hotels have stringent county and state-backed safety measures in place.

If it’s not wasting money on mailers to prevent workers from returning, the union is staging protests to otherwise lock workers out of their jobs. Local 11 has recently called for a boycott of Chateau Marmont — a popular spot for Hollywood events, including the Oscars after-party. The union called on celebrities and other hotel patrons to boycott the hotel until “bartenders, servers, and room attendants return to their jobs.” But if the union continues to drive away business, workers won’t have much to come back to.

Local 11 has also criticized hotels for receiving money through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). But three of the union’s front groups have also received PPP money, to the tune of nearly $900k.

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) received $250,000 across two PPP payments. Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) received another $128,000, while the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) received just under half a million dollars in PPP.

To recap, Local 11 spent the pandemic pressuring out-of-work members to continue paying dues, and even increased the rate of those dues payments. All the while, union leaders pushed LA County to keep hotels closed and workers out of a job (although the union had no issue sending members to campaign in-person). Now, Local 11 continues to kick California’s tourism and hospitality industry while it’s already down.

Does that sound like a union committed to getting its rank-and-file back to work? We certainly don’t think so, and Local 11’s members aren’t likely to either.