UNITE HERE LOCAL 11 ON STRIKE: Workers at Aimbridge-Operated Hotels Launch Week of Action Following Company’s Response to Women’s Allegations of Sexual Harassment

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hundreds of workers at hotels operated by Aimbridge Hospitality across the Los Angeles area who have been waging a campaign for living wages, dignified conditions, and protections against sexual harassment walked out on strike this morning. Through strikes and an “occupy” action near LAX, Aimbridge workers are seeking to send a message that Aimbridge’s response to sexual harassment allegations will not suffice and that they want respect and a fair contract. Earlier this year, workers launched a boycott of the controversial hotel operator, which they have dubbed “Shamebridge.”

Over the last two months, six women at two Aimbridge hotels–the Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Monica and Sheraton Park Anaheim–have come forward alleging they experienced harassment and verbal abuse at work. The women have filed pending complaints with the California Civil Rights Department.

A group of more than fifty prominent Californians, including Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis, State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Dolores Huerta, have sent a letter to Aimbridge’s new CEO Craig Smith pressing the company to take specific steps to address the issue, including appointing an ombudsperson to provide an independent assessment of the company’s practices, recommend systemic reforms, and ensure complete and appropriate remediation in particular cases. The workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 11, has also pressed the company to adopt a series of specific collective bargaining proposals to address and prevent the sexual harassment of its members at Aimbridge-operated hotels.

Aimbridge’s Vice President of Human Resources-Labor Dave Williams, responded to the concerns through an email, disputing the allegations “that Aimbridge managers have been ineffective or have failed to ensure full respect for employee rights” and stating “we are confident in our position, including the actions taken by Aimbridge in response to each of the underlying complaints.” Workers and their union, UNITE HERE Local 11, view the response as woefully inadequate. They note the allegations in some cases accuse managers of harassment and that it does not appear the company completed an investigation of the workers’ complaints prior to denying that any wrongdoing took place.

Workers across 35 hotels have successfully ratified their historic union contracts at other Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt properties across Southern California. Aimbridge Hospitality has failed to meet the new standard. The company operates unionized hotels in the region that include Aloft El Segundo, Courtyard Marriott Santa Monica, Doubletree Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, Fairfield Inn and Suites El Segundo, Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Monica, Hilton Pasadena, Holiday Inn LAX, Hyatt Regency LAX, and Sheraton Park Anaheim.

UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers and airports


Maria Hernandez