Hotel workers file for fair pay and assault protections

Culver City’s hotel workers filed an initiative to guarantee a $25 minimum hourly wage while also protecting room attendants against sexual assault. Similar legislation has already been passed in Los Angeles, Irvine, and Santa Monica, and Long Beach.

A similar initiative was filed by hotel workers in Rancho Palos Verdes last month to cover workers employed at the Terranea Resort, which had recently seen a number of accusations of unlawful practices. 

According to a press release from the UNITE Here Local 11 labor union, “The initiative calls for Culver City hotels to: Provide room attendants with panic buttons, training and security protocols to protect them from sexual assault and threatening conduct by guests; Provide room attendants fair pay for heavy workloads and prohibit mandatory overtime after 10 hours; Pay a $25.00 minimum wage for hotel workers, rising to $30.00 by the 2028 Olympics; and Guarantee that new hotel operators retain the incumbent workers when management changes.” 

“Our wages are not keeping up with inflation and skyrocketing rents,” said Pedro Morales, a Houseperson at The Shay, Culver City, which is managed by Hyatt.  “We opened up this hotel in the middle of the pandemic.  Culver City hotels are booming. We need $25 an hour to survive.”

The press release states that the Terranea and the Shay Culver City are owned by Lowe and that, in November 2019, “the Terranea Resort contributed more than a million dollars to defeat a similar ballot initiative that would have benefited housekeepers—a group made up predominantly of immigrant women of color—in Rancho Palos Verdes.  In 2022, the Terranea agreed to pay $1.5 million to workers for failing to comply with California’s return to work law.” 

“The tourism industry’s workforce is overworked and underpaid,” states Kurt Peterson, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Hyatt and  Robert Lowe and his sons have made  a fortune off the backs of hard-working room attendants.  Culver City needs to hold them and other hoteliers accountable.   A living wage and safe working conditions are a starting point.”