LA Grand Hotel Workers Strike for Better Wages, Improved Support

Striking NSGEU Nurse with Megaphone

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Dozens of L.A. Grand Hotel workers went on strike Wednesday and "occupied" a portion of the sidewalk outside City Hall as they demanded increased staffing and better wages.

The L.A. Grand operates as part of Mayor Karen Bass' Inside Safe initiative, providing vacant rooms to unhoused Angelenos. Hotel workers, represented by labor union Unite Here Local 11, plan to maintain a continued presence at City Hall throughout the day.

"The work we do at L.A. Grand is extremely difficult," Ana Pineda, a housekeeper at the hotel for 17 years, said in a statement. "In order for work to be sustainable, we need the company and the city to increase staffing levels."

Zach Seidl, Bass' deputy mayor of communications, said in a statement that the "The Grand houses hundreds of the most vulnerable Angelenos and our office will continue to do all we can to save lives and ensure workers are treated fairly."

Workers are asking the city to take responsibility for what they call an "untenable situation" at the hotel and working with their employer, Shen Zhen New World LLC.

The workers are also demanding that the city address violence workers have allegedly endured on strike lines at the hands of hotel security personnel, who they say were hired by the city. They are also asking for an increase to the minimum wage for hotel workers.

"The L.A. Grand workers provide hospitality for some of our city's most vulnerable residents," Kurt Petersen, Unite Here Local 11 co-president, said in a statement. "For more than a year they have been asking the city and the operator to protect hotel workers facing dangerous working conditions inside their workplace and violence on the picket line."

In May 2023, Shen Zhen New World was fined $4 million and placed on five years probation following the company's conviction on fraud and bribery charges connected to allegations the company's fugitive owner, Wei Huang, provided bribes topping more than $1 million to then-L.A. City Councilman José Huizar in a bid to obtain city approval to build a skyscraper at the L.A. Grand site.

Workers at hotels across the Southland have been on strike since July 2023 amid labor disputes with various hotel owners. About 34 tentative contract agreements with individual hotel owners have been reached in L.A. and Orange counties, but some hotels such as the L.A. Grand have held out, according to Unite Here Local 11.

The workers' overall contract goals include wage increases to keep pace with the soaring cost of housing in Los Angeles, quality and affordable health insurance, a pension to retire with dignity, and humane workloads, union officials said.

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