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Los Angeles’ powerful hospitality union is backing the writers strike, now in its second week.
In a letter sent on May 11 to more than 100 area hotels its members work for, UNITE HERE Local 11 announced it “will not cross any picket line set up by the WGA.” By its account, many of the properties where the union represents workers “frequently serve as locations for film and television productions,” the organization wrote in a letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
These include the Millennium Biltmore and Westin Bonaventure hotels in downtown L.A. as well as the Chateau Marmont along the Sunset Strip.
Local 11, which is comprised of more than 30,000 members in job roles including bellmen, servers, housekeepers, valets and cooks, organized the Chateau last year in a historic labor win. The Writers Guild, the Directors Guild, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters Local 399 had lent their support to a high-profile campaign in which the hotel’s employees had picketed the property, resulting in the cancelation of multiple production shoots, including for Amazon’s Being the Ricardos and Paramount+’s The Offer.
“Tourism and entertainment are by far Los Angeles’s most important industries,” Local 11 leadership wrote to the hotels. “When workers in our industries thrive, the city thrives. And when workers in our industries are mistreated, paid inadequate wages, or left with no job security, the entire city suffers. We rise or fall together.”
In addition to hotels, Local 11 members — primarily women and people of color — are employed in the region’s universities, airports, convention centers and sports stadiums. (The union also represents studios’ cafeteria workers, whose own contract language doesn’t allow for them to refuse to cross other unions’ picket lines.)
Local 11, which also represents workers at popular production shoot locations like the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Wilshire and Fairmont Century Plaza, told the hotels, “We encourage you to communicate with any production companies with whom you have relationships that it is in your, their, and the entire city’s best interests to reach a prompt and fair resolution to the dispute.”
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