Dozens of workers waved signs, banged drums and twirled noisemakers outside Hotel Maya on Friday as they joined thousands of other hotel workers across the region in a strike for higher wages and improved working conditions.
Thousands of hotel workers across Southern California walked off the job in early July demanding higher wages, increased staffing, better medical insurance and long-term benefits amid contract negotiations. Sporadic strikes have been taking place ever since.
Soledad Garcia, an organizer with Unite Here Local 11, the union representing over 32,000 service industry workers, said the company is not negotiating in good faith.
“What they’re proposing, it’s not enough for the workers to keep living in this city,” she said. “So they decided to take a stand today.”
In a statement Friday, General Manager Greg Guthrie said the hotel “fully supports” its staff and has been actively engaged in negotiations leading up to June 30 when the previous contract expired. The hotel will honor the old contract until a new agreement is reached, he said.
“Hotel Maya is now currently awaiting a response from the union to continue negotiating directly with our ownership on behalf of our team members specifically and not the other hotels that are represented by Unite Here Local 11,” Guthrie said. “We are unaware of what the other hotels are picketing for, as the union leaders are the ones who have not come back to the table.”
Unite Here, meanwhile, stated that the industry’s July 18 offer did not include “a penny more for wages,” adding that the hotels walked out of the session.
The Maya has more than 150 unionized employees, according to Guthrie.
The hotel would remain open throughout the strike, Guthrie said, adding that management and non-union staff will cover the missed shifts of striking workers. At the hotel, managers and gardeners could be seen cleaning rooms.
When asked how long the strike would last, Garcia said, “however long it takes.”
The Maya is the only hotel currently on strike in Long Beach.
The Long Beach workers joined the strike on the second day of Taylor Swift’s six-day stint at SoFi Stadium as part of her Eras Tour. Ahead of the tour’s arrival in Inglewood, union leaders, hotel workers and elected officials petitioned to have the events postponed as a show of solidarity with hotel workers.
None of the sold-out shows, with capacity for more than 70,000 people, were canceled.
Catherine Smith and Mike Schlink, Canadians who are staying at the Maya ahead of a trip to Catalina Island followed by a friend’s wedding up the coast, said they were surprised by the strike and noise when they arrived.
“But it’s totally fair,” Smith said, adding that it is not negatively affecting their trip. “There are a lot of industries that are striking right now, and we understand they are looking for higher pay and better working conditions.”