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LA Hotels Avoid Strike

June 13, 2005

LA Hotels Avoid Strike
June 13, 2005 – Seven major Los Angeles hotels were able to reach an agreement on Saturday, avoiding a planned strike after a 14-month contract dispute.

The Associated Press reports that a deal was struck just minutes before the lockout was set to start. "We’re grateful that the essential needs of those workers have been met," Maria Elena Durazo, president of Unite Here Local 11, the union that represents 2,500 employees of the seven hotels, said.

About 120 employees of one the seven hotels went on strike on Thursday, hours before the contract had been set to expire. The strike prompted a vote by operators to lock out employees at all the hotels. A new contract has been in negotiations since the last employee contract expired in 2004. The contract length has been a key issue in the disagreement as employees wanted the next contract to expire at the same time as an agreement for workers at several other regional hotels. The tactic was seen as a way to gain leverage in future contract talks.

Durazo said the new contract also would include health insurance, a 65-cent hourly wage hike for non-tip workers, and permission for workers to use sick hours to tend to family matters.

The contract must still be ratified by union members, who are scheduled to vote on the deal Monday.

The contract would cover workers at the Hyatt, Westin, Sheraton, Regent, Westin Bonaventure, Millennium Biltmore and Wilshire Grand.

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