A tentative contract agreement has been reached between five Southern California hotels, including two in Long Beach, and the union representing workers.
Unite Here Local 11, which represents more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona, announced Friday a tentative agreement with the Hyatt Regency Long Beach and Hyatt Centric The Pike Long Beach. Sofitel, Hyatt Shay in Culver City and Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood also reached tentative agreements with the union.
Friday’s announcement comes after more than seven months of work actions and demands for higher pay and improved benefits.
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“We applaud Hyatt and Sofitel for recognizing that their workers are essential to their success,” Kurt Petersen, co-president of Local 11 said in a statement. “Our members have never once faltered in this fight to win a wage that allows them to live near where they work. They have overcome intimidation, violence, and nothing will stop them until all hotels – including those run by private equity behemoths – sign this agreement.”
In an emailed statement Monday, Michael D’Angelo, head of labor relations for Americas, Hyatt, said the company is “pleased” an agreement “with terms that have our colleagues best interests in mind” was reached for the company’s workforce, including the more than 350 workers at the two Long Beach hotels.
“Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Hyatt hotels continue to offer our colleagues competitive wages and benefits, including a pension, as well as comprehensive healthcare coverage,” D’Angelo said. “Our purpose is to care for people so they can be their best. Our colleagues are the heart of our business, and their wellbeing continues to remain a top priority.”
The details of the agreement have not been released but the union said it includes “unprecedented” wage increases, affordable health care, “humane” workloads and “safe” staffing, improved pension increases and language improvements to increase job access.
No date has been set for a worker vote to ratify the tentative agreements.
Hotel workers throughout Southern California have struck more than 130 times since July, according to the union, including picketing outside the two Downtown Long Beach hotels. With the latest announcement, 34 of 60 unionized hotels have reached tentative agreements with the union.
The Westin Long Beach and Hotel Maya are the only two other unionized hotels in Long Beach, according to union spokesperson Maria Hernandez. Westin employees already have a contract and are not part of current negotiations, she added.
Hotel Maya, however, has been an epicenter of controversy with several physical altercations. In August, a brawl between wedding guests, security and picketing workers broke out at the waterfront hotel. Guests and security guards could be seen using temporary fencing to physically move picketers, several of whom were assaulted.
Most recently, a worker alleged a hotel investor shouted at and physically assaulted her outside the hotel while she was picketing. Identified only as Camila, the worker said investor Frank Zarabi grabbed her roughly and threw her megaphone to the ground.
Zarabi denied the accusation through a spokesperson.
Both the union and Hotel Maya have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. The union’s complaint claims the operator has committed and condoned violence against workers, while Maya claims the union is “bargaining in bad faith.”