Hotel dispute heats up as officials back boycott

first_imgNearly two dozen elected city, state and county officials voiced support Friday for a controversial boycott of the LAX Hilton Hotel as part of a labor dispute at the facility. City Council members Janice Hahn and Ed Reyes joined Assemblyman Mike Eng, D-Los Angeles, in releasing the list of officials urging tourists to boycott the hotel until it improves working conditions. The hotel has been targeted by UNITE HERE because of its refusal to negotiate a union contract for its workers and its efforts to overturn a city ordinance that would impose a “living wage” on airport-area hotel workers. “I will not eat, I will not sleep, I will not go to the Los Angeles Airport Hilton until they change,” Hahn said. “Right now, the Los Angeles Airport Hilton is the worst employer in the city.” “Our hotel is disappointed that UNITE HERE and elected officials like Eric Garcetti and Janice Hahn are willing to jeopardize jobs and the local economy by supporting the boycott of our hotel,” Beach said. “Their inappropriate comments about our hotel demonstrate that they are anti-business and anti-worker.” But Hahn discounted that. “We have 75,000 other hotel rooms in this city where we would love for people to spend their money,” she said. UNITE HERE Vice President Tom Walsh said the union is considering expanding its boycott to other hotels in the area that have joined in opposing the living-wage ordinance for LAX-area hotel workers. The ordinance is pending in court amid opposition from the hotels and the business community. Officials signing letters of support for the boycott include council members Wendy Greuel, Jose Huizar, Herb Wesson and Bill Rosendahl. State officials include Sens. Alex Padilla, D-San Fernando; Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles; Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles; and Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles. Several members of the state Assembly and the Los Angeles congressional delegation also issued statements of support. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Last month, Council President Eric Garcetti issued a letter on behalf of UNITE HERE urging potential Los Angeles convention attendees to stay at other hotels. Council members Dennis Zine, Greig Smith and Bernard Parks voted against the living-wage ordinance. All City Council members except for Zine, Smith and Parks supported the ordinance and now support the boycott. Hotel representatives would not disclose Friday whether the boycott has affected hotel operations. They have said they are concerned the action will hurt the entire city by discouraging visitors from coming to Los Angeles. Officials with the LAX Hilton criticized the lawmakers, saying they are pawns of the union, which the hotel claims bullied workers into supporting the living-wage ordinance. “UNITE HERE has not been able to organize the employees of our hotel for the last two years and it is simply irresponsible for any member of the Los Angeles City Council to serve as their mouthpiece,” Eric Beach, a spokesman for the LAX Hilton, told City News Service. last_img read more