City of Los Angeles council members Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martinez were among those arrested after failing to disperse during a hospitality worker protest.

The June 22 protest near LAX saw hundreds of demonstrators sitting on Century Boulevard and holding signs that read, “I have the right to live where I work,” and “One job should be enough.”

LAPD gave a dispersal order, but many of the protesters stayed put, along with Councilmembers Raman, Soto-Martinez and Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo.

“People are being priced out of their homes and have to commute for hours to work,” Soto-Martinez said in a statement. “A single mother who works as a housekeeper has to work 17 hours a day to afford housing in this city. I’m proud to stand in solidarity with UNITE HERE Local 11 and tourism workers across the city because people who work in LA should be able to afford to live in LA.”

At least 200 who stayed were arrested, cited and released by LAPD.

Unite Here Local 11 represents about 15,000 hospitality workers who are seeking higher wages, healthcare benefits, pension and adjusted workloads.

The protest came after 96% of the workers voted to authorize a strike if deemed necessary by the union representatives.

“I risked arrest for the future of my kids, my coworkers and myself,” Martha Esquivel, Holiday Inn LAX worker said.  “The companies have taken advantage of the pandemic to get richer, while we struggle to stay housed. I am fighting for that change, and ready to strike.”

The union said it polled its workers and learned that 53% of them moved away from Los Angeles due to the increased cost of living. Instead, the workers have opted to live in areas outside L.A. County, such as Apple Valley, Victorville and California City, then commute to their jobs in Los Angeles.

“In a show of strength and solidarity hundreds of workers were arrested for the right to live near where they work,” Unite Here Local 11 Kurt Peterson said in a statement. “Corporations have offered pennies, so today we risked arrest, and we are ready to go on strike to get the wage they deserve.”

The contract between the union workers and hotels such as Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton and Marriott, expires on June 30, after which the workers can officially opt to strike as early as July 4.




































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