Local 11 Protests: Bad for Business, Bad for Workers

For about the last six months, Unite Here Local 11 has staged early morning protests outside of the Freehand hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. The protests, which commence promptly at 7 am (bullhorns included), are not only a thorn in the side of LA residents—hotel guests have also noticed.

A review left on the hotel’s Yelp! page warns travelers considering the hotel to “stay here if you want to be woken up at 6 am from protesters outside.” Another review from March urges, “Don’t go to this hotel… there are protesters every morning…you won’t be able to sleep… apparently this [has] been going on for weeks.”

More reviews on Trip Adviser from this month alone repeat the same sentiment. One person had this to say: “They currently have protesters outside waking guests up at 6am….Stay away until they sort this mess out.” Another reviewer sounded similarly fed up: “Noise also included former employee ‘protesters’ at 7am in the morning who were shouting in [the] street below our room…I definitely do not recommend!”

This isn’t the first time Local 11 has racked up complaints for their disruptive protests. When the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica refused to sign a deal with the union, guests were greeted with similar early morning picket lines. The Shore’s reviews also suffered. “Each morning we were awakened at around 7:00 am by protesters outside our balcony,” said one review on Trip Adviser.

It looks like the union has taken their early morning strike show on the road to LA, but what does that mean for hospitality workers in the city? When reviews encouraging travelers to stay elsewhere start to pile up, it’s not only bad for business. With fewer guests, workers could find their hours cut back, or even find their jobs eliminated entirely.

Some advice for Local 11: It’s hard to claim to protect workers when your own tactics put their jobs at risk.