June 4, 2023

Scores L.A. County staff employed in hospitality, tourism, meals service, leisure and different industries plan to rally in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Might 26 to name for larger wages, higher advantages and safer workloads as they battle to maintain tempo with excessive housing prices.

The union workers, whose labor contracts have expired or are set to run out this yr, need to “elevate the low requirements” amid a significant housing disaster. Their contracts are overseen by 9 labor unions that collectively characterize greater than 200,000 staff.

They embody SEIU Native 721, Writers Guild of America, Worldwide Brotherhood of Teamsters and Unite Right here Native 11, amongst others.

Yvonne Wheeler, president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, stated Friday’s occasion will permit the staff to talk with one highly effective and unified voice.

“As gasoline, meals and housing proceed to skyrocket, Los Angeles’ hundreds of unionized staff will likely be uplifting one another to demand a fair proportion to supply housing and meals for them and their households within the second most costly market within the U.S.,” Wheeler stated in a press release.

Staff from the varied unions plan to collect at 5 p.m. Friday on the nook of twelfth St. and Figueroa the place a wide range of labor leaders will converse.

Following that, they’ll march to a California Democratic conference that’s being held on the JW Marriott resort.

The employees’ issues are mirrored within the “hospitality employee invoice of rights” ordinances which have handed in such cities as L.A., Santa Monica, Glendale and West Hollywood.

These measures have elevated base wages, however workers say it’s not sufficient.

L.A.’s ordinance, for instance, boosted the minimal wage for workers working in inns with 60 or extra visitor rooms to $18.86 an hour, up from $17.64. However Unite Right here Native 11 stated an worker incomes that wage would nonetheless must work 17 hours a day to afford a two-bedroom residence within the metropolis.

Christopher Lillian, a meals stand attendant at Common Studios Hollywood, makes $15.96 an hour and says he’s barely scraping by.

“So far as housing, the one cause I’m not homeless is the generosity of buddies who lease a spare room to me at an inexpensive fee,” the 36-year-old Glendale resident stated. He’s amongst 2,000 workers at Common Studios who’re represented by Unite Right here.

“We’re attempting to suss out what a habitable wage could be, however we don’t have a quantity but,” he stated. “However to place it bluntly, something greater than we’re making could be welcome.”

An Anaheim ordinance that might hike the minimal wage for workers at inns and occasion facilities to $25 an hour is slated to come back earlier than voters as an initiative.

Pete Hillan, a spokesman for the California Lodge & Lodging Affiliation, stated it could have heavy financial impacts for small family-owned inns within the metropolis and Anaheim’s general price range.

“In the event that they go to an instantaneous $25 minimal wage, that’s a 63% enhance from the present minimal of $15.50 an hour,” he stated. “That’s a rare quantity. It might result in larger prices at small inns and put a few of them vulnerable to going out of enterprise.”

A invoice that might enhance wages and guarantees to enhance working situations for California’s fast-food staff has been placed on maintain till the November 2024 election when voters will determine its final result.

Union leaders say U.S. inns and airports acquired $15 billion in pandemic bailouts, whereas solely a fifth of that cash went to staff.

“Popping out the pandemic, many of those firms are making report earnings,” Unite Right here co-President Kurt Peterson stated. “We’re going to say with one voice that the individuals who work right here and make this metropolis affluent have a proper to afford to dwell right here.”

A latest Unite Right here survey exhibits 67% of Native 11 members agree or strongly agree that their employers have taken benefit of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty-nine % stated it’s essential that they’ve inexpensive well being protection and 73% say they should combat for fairer workloads.