In a historic breakthrough, UNITE HERE Local 11 and management at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont have reached agreement for a historic union contract. On Dec. 22, the hotel’s workers overwhelmingly ratified the contract.
The new contract, which takes effect immediately, sets a new standard for boutique hotels. Some highlights include:
An immediate 25% wage increase for returning non-tipped workers. Housekeepers, for example, will earn $25.00 an hour within one year.
Free family health insurance for workers who work 60 hours or more a month.
Free legal services for immigration, consumer and tenant issues.
Union pension fund.
Protections for worker safety.
Unprecedented protections for immigrants. For example, workers with DACA and TPS work authorization have 5 years to return to work should the government or Supreme Court eliminate these programs.
The hotel recognizes Juneteenth as a paid holiday, making the hotel one of the very first to recognize this historic day.
The agreement marks the latest stage in a relationship between the iconic hotel and LA’s hospitality workers’ union. In August, the hotel voluntarily recognized the union after a majority of workers signed union cards, and negotiations promptly commenced for a first union contract. The agreement formalizes the parties’ relationship and establishes a framework for cooperation both inside the hotel and beyond. [C-L note: This was a sea change from earlier relations, when the hotel fired almost the entire staff without severance pay at the start of the pandemic, or earlier when they resisted housekeepers demands for protection from sexual harassment and assault.]
Walter Almendarez, a worker leader of UNITE HERE Local 11 who served as a Bellperson at Chateau Marmont for 26 years, said: “I am so proud that my coworkers and I will be returning to work at the Chateau Marmont while providing a secure and dignified life for our families.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen stated, “The Chateau Marmont workers are the heroes of the pandemic. After losing their jobs along with other hotel workers during the pandemic, they not only helped win California’s historic right to return to work law, but now they will return to their jobs with an extraordinary union contract. We commend the Chateau Marmont for negotiating in good faith and look forward to opportunities to build a more just Los Angeles together.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 represents over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.