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‘I Don’t Make Enough For Rent’ ~ L.A. Hotel Workers Poised To Strike As Early As Wednesday

Workers at the some of the most popular Los Angeles area hotels could go on strike ahead of the holidays  — possibly as early as Wednesday — if contract negotiations with management remain deadlocked, Unite Here Local 11 spokesman Andrew Cohen told L.A. Taco.

“We will have an action this Wednesday for sure. I can’t go into details but the locations will be [Downtown L.A.], Anaheim, and Santa Monica,” Cohen said.

Wednesday’s action will test the union’s strength in mobilizing its members, Cohen said. The union has not decided yet but, most likely, it will be at one of three landmarks: The Westin Bonaventure Hotel at 404 South Figueroa, Grand Sheraton Los Angeles at 711 South Hope Street, or the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles LA Live at 900 W. Olympic Blvd.

“The cost of living here in L.A. is really expensive. I don’t make enough to pay monthly bills like rent, babysitting, or my children’s schooling. That’s why if the company doesn’t listen to us, we are ready to go on strike,” said Dina Paredes, housekeeper at the Westin Bonaventure in Downtown L.A.

More than 20 labor contracts at hotel brands including Marriott, Hilton, and InterContinental ran out on Nov. 30.

'The cost of living here in L.A. is really expensive.'

Some 7,500 cooks, dishwashers, housekeepers, and janitors are on the ready, poised to strike over a list of union demands that include boosting their pay to $25 an hour and implementation of panic buttons due to concerns by female hotel staff over sexual harassment.

With the holiday season drawing near, some hotels have already been the site of protests in a build-up to what has already become the largest series of hotel strikes in U.S. history. The vote comes on the heels of historic worker strikes at 20 hospitality chains in more than 10 cities across the country this year. The strike authorization vote also comes as workers settled a strike in San Francisco late last week.

“We are asking that this contract get workers to $25 an hour,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, “L.A. has one of the highest costs of living in the country, and our booming tourism industry can afford to pay its workers a living wage.”

Marriott International didn’t respond to a request by L.A. Taco for a comment.

Last year, Los Angeles welcomed 48.3 million visitors, the seventh consecutive year of record-breaking tourism numbers for the city. At the same time, median rent in the city rose to $1,760 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to the union.

RELATED: L.A. Teachers to Strike in January If There’s No Deal with District

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