Local 11 Poses a Threat to Quality of Life Throughout Los Angeles County

To residents throughout Los Angeles County, Unite Here Local 11 has become synonymous with loud and disruptive early morning protests. Add in the union’s concerning political endorsements and (thankfully) failed homeless hotel initiative, and it’s no wonder many Los Angelenos can’t stand Local 11.

Perhaps the most telling consequence of the union’s disruptive tactics is the recent announcement that after 33 years, the American Film Market (AFM) will move its location from Santa Monica to Las Vegas. This is an obvious blow to the city’s economy, and one that could have been prevented had the union’s protest been met with more severe push back from the City Council.

Just last year, Beverly Hills sued Local 11 for the constant barrage of noise emanating from protests outside of hotels in the community. Residents in both Santa Monica and Los Angeles proper also experienced the union’s obnoxious protests, complete with megaphones and drums. Santa Monica residents testified in front of the City Council about how they were losing sleep and couldn’t focus on their jobs or their schoolwork. Online reviews also condemned the union’s antics, with one person claiming they – and their baby – were being woken up before 6:00 AM.  

Google reviews for Local 11 are filled with angry comments:

It’s not enough that residents near Local 11’s protests can’t sleep. If the union gets its way, the streets will also be far less safe. The union has a habit of promoting and endorsing political candidates who are soft on crime, anti-police, and who seemingly have little issue with homeless encampments in residential areas, including around schools. 

On Jan. 12, 2024, Local 11 released a social media post expressing support for incumbent Los Angeles Councilwoman Nithya Raman. 

In 2020, Raman ran a campaign supported by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA-LA), an organization that has been vocally anti-police, often referring to law enforcement as “pigs.” Raman also signed the “People’s Budget” which called for a 97 percent reduction in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) budget. As recently as 2023, Raman was one of only three Los Angeles City Council members to vote against the budget.  

“We need your help to elect a fellow DSA-LA member and democratic socialist to elected office.” – DSA-LA statement on supporting Nithya Raman

Raman also voted against enforcing the anti-camping ordinance (41.18) and claimed schoolchildren would be no safer if homeless encampments were 100 or 500 feet from schools. 

“Enforcing this law won’t effectively address the problem; it would merely displace it. It doesn’t work. I mean, it’s like, I don’t think a kid’s gonna be safer if they are 10 or 500 feet away from a school.” – Quote from Nithya Raman

In 2022, the union supported radical candidates for Los Angeles City Council seats. These candidates included Erin Darling (CD 11), Katy Yaroslavsky (CD 5) and Hugo Soto-Martinez (CD 13). 

Soto-Martinez – a former Local 11 organizer – ran as a police abolitionist that believes the City Council should reallocate a huge chunk of the Los Angeles Police Departments (LAPD) budget towards “preventative” crime measures instead of actual policing. Soto even went as far as referring to police as “armed militias occupying our neighborhoods.” Soto-Martinez and Raman were even arrested together at one of Unite Here Local 11’s protests. 

“DSA-LA endorsed our chapter comrade, Hugo Soto-Martinez for Los Angeles City Council District 13 because Hugo is a socialist, a union organizer, and he’s fighting to make a Los Angeles for all!” – Statement from DSA-LA in support of Soto-Martinez

Endorsed by the union for Council District 11, Erin Darling took criticism for questioning alleged rape victims during his campaign and he also stood against enforcing Los Angeles’ anti-camping laws. Darling was Unite Here Local 11’s attempt at replacing its previous endorsed candidate, Mike Bonin, whose support of homeless encampments was effectively dismantled by the Los Angeles City Council in 2023. 

But enforcement doesn’t work. Enforcement means displacement. Enforcement is the status quo.” Quote on enforcing anti-camping laws from Erin Darling

Katy Yaroslavsky was Local 11’s choice for Council District 5. In 2023, Yaroslavsky announced a low barrier homeless shelter – as in no background checks – would be established in her district. Residents of the district – and specifically that neighborhood – were understandably furious

“It’s an absolute travesty of justice. This entire process has been undemocratic from start to finish.” – CD 5 resident on the homeless shelter project proposed by Yaroslavsky. 

Unsurprisingly, Local 11 also chose radical endorsements for the position of city attorney. The union backed both Faisal Gill and Hydee Feldstein Soto. 

Faisal Gill is an attorney who supported city run drug injection sites and ending cash bail. Feldstein Soto eventually won election and quickly filed an amicus brief that would make it harder to enforce laws against homeless encampments. 

If residents couldn’t be more appalled at the union’s behavior, Unite Here Local 11 also sought to destroy the Los Angeles tourism industry – all while putting its own members in harm’s way – by forcing hotels to house homeless individuals via a referendum it proposed in 2022. 

One poll conducted found that 72 percent of Americans would be deterred from using Los Angeles hotels if the ordinance was passed, a disaster for local businesses and hotel workers. If the measure would have succeeded, tourism would surely have been reduced, local businesses would have suffered as a result, and hotel workers would have likely faced layoffs due to declining hotel sales. The few hotel workers who would have remained employed would have endured increased crime and dangerous situations while on the job. 

In 2023, staunch opposition to the measure eventually caused the Los Angeles City Council to make a deal with the union in return for dropping the referendum.

If Los Angelenos and Southern Californians are learning anything, it’s that there is one main threat to their quality of life: Unite Here Local 11.