UNITE HERE Local 11 Launches New “COVID Hotel Grade” Website
LA County has highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country as tourism reopens
The Southern California hotel workers' union today launched a new website, "COVIDHotelGrade.org" to alert Los Angeles County hotel guests which hotels have key guarantees in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVIDHotelGrade.org lists a number of top southern California hotels and assigns them letter grades based on whether the following are in place:
- Enforceable COVID-19 Safety Rights negotiated with worker representatives to ensure safe practices such as face coverings and other protective equipment, paid time for handwashing, frequent cleaning of common areas, and training on COVID-19 safety and prevention.
- Health coverage for workers guaranteed in an agreement with worker representatives so workers and their families have the care they need during the pandemic.
- Enforceable recall rights for workers to ensure experienced workers can return to their jobs, while allowing workers with special COVID-19 vulnerabilities to delay their return.
- A voice on the job for workers through a recognized union to provide the support and protections workers need to raise concerns about COVID-19 safety.
"The pandemic has been devastating for our members," said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11 and chief negotiator with the hotel industry in Southern California. "The loss of income and risk of exposure to the virus has gone on for almost a full year. We have said that when the hotel industry reopens, it has to be safe for our members. They deserve to be protected, and the public does too. COVIDHotelGrade.org will help us accomplish this."
"I feel better working at the JW Marriott in DTLA knowing that the company has signed an agreement to put extra cleaning protocols and protections in place," said Yesenia Ortiz, a banquet server at the JW Marriott in Downtown LA. "At my second job, at the Langham Huntington Pasadena, we don't have these same guarantees."
As has been well documented, the pandemic has hit communities of color, and the immigrant community, especially hard. Local 11's membership is a majority women and people of color, including many immigrants. LA County continues to have the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.