Dozens of Los Angeles housekeepers and other hotel workers delivered petitions to the city clerk’s office on Monday calling for higher pay and increased security measures to protect them from sexual assault. and threatening behavior.
Employees – including non-union workers and others represented by Unite Here Local 11 – have worked since the end of January to collect the 61,000 signatures needed to qualify the Hospitality Worker Protection Initiative for the November ballot.
They got more than 100,000 signatures for the initiative, the union said, which closely mirrors the protections hospitality workers have won in Long Beach, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.
“We hope they will adopt the order outright,” Unite Here spokeswoman Maria Hernandez said.
What workers are looking for
– Panic buttons and other safety measures to protect hotel housekeepers from sexual assault and threatening behavior – Fair compensation for heavy workloads – Restoration of daily room cleaning during the pandemic – Extension of the law on the minimum wage for hotel employees.
Hernandez said a minimum wage requirement exists for LA hotels with 50 or more rooms, but those with fewer rooms aren’t tied to that requirement. The initiative would expand the mandate to include facilities with fewer bedrooms.
“Some hotels are being built with 49 rooms just to avoid that,” she said.
In terms of workplace safety, the initiative would ensure that any hotel employee assigned to work alone in a room or restroom would be given a panic button to use in the event of a problem. When activated, the device would provide immediate contact between the worker and hotel security or a designated manager or supervisor to respond to violent or threatening conduct.
The worker could leave the immediate area and wait for help before activating the device and would not be subject to any form of discipline unless they intentionally made a false declaration of an emergency.
Martha Moran knows all about the need for a panic button. She worked at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood for 33 years before being fired in March 2020 when business plummeted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A guest tried to grope me while I was cleaning a room and another guest offered me $100 to be with him,” the 57-year-old Glendora resident said. “I was afraid.”
Moran said she never reported the incidents because she was embarrassed. But she also felt that the hotel would not have properly addressed the issue.
A representative from Chateau Marmont said that all of its housekeepers are equipped with personal safety devices, as outlined in the proposed order, and that it supports the use of such devices in all hotels.
The initiative also includes a “workload limitation” for hotels with at least 45 rooms but fewer than 60. It would ensure that a housekeeper does not clean more than 4,000 square feet of room space. during an eight-hour working day, unless she is paid twice. their regular rate.
Similarly, employees would not be required to work more than 10 hours per workday unless they agree in writing, and those who work overtime would receive a wage premium.
“Hotel employees are frequently assigned unscheduled and mandatory overtime, which limits their ability to meet family and personal commitments and interferes with their ability to plan these commitments in advance,” the initiative states.
The initiative notes that past business practices at Los Angeles hotels have resulted in mass layoffs of hotel workers. When ownership or management of a hotel changes, the new operator often closes the hotel for renovations and reopens with a new workforce with very few, if any, of the original workers retained.
The measure recommends a “transitional retention period” that would allow employees to remain under the new owner or management – a measure that would ease the demand for social services for workers who remained unemployed.
Retention rules would be expanded to include airport area hotels citywide with 50 or more rooms, and current minimum wage requirements for hotels with 150 or more rooms would extend to hotels with 60 or more rooms.
Moran filed a “right of recall” complaint with Chateau Marmont in an attempt to get his job back. The right of recall means that workers who are laid off when a business experiences an economic downturn are among the first to be rehired when business picks up.
Chateau Marmont said it adhered to all guidelines of the Los Angeles Right of Recall Ordinance and has already rehired more than 40 former employees based on those occupancy guidelines.