Numerous hotels in Los Angeles have decided to employ homeless migrants from Skid Row, as the city grapples with both a surge in hotel worker strikes and an increase in migrants from the southern border.
As of early July, approximately 15,000 employees from around 60 hotels in Southern California have initiated strikes, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. In response to this situation, the hotels have started substituting these striking union members with individuals from the homeless migrant community residing in Skid Row.
In the past few weeks, migrants have been enlisted for employment at the Four Points by Sheraton and Holiday Inn LAX, both in close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport, as well as at the Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica.
According to ten individuals who reside in a homeless shelter in Skid Row, they have been offered employment at hotels where workers were conducting picket lines. The majority of these ten migrants came from Venezuela or Colombia.
Hotel workers are currently on strike, demanding higher wages, improved benefits, and better working conditions, stating that they don't make enough money to live near their place of work.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the previous year saw a recorded total of 69,144 individuals living in similar circumstances.
The co-president of the union representing the hotel workers on strike strongly criticized the hotels' decision to employ migrants, asserting that the hotels had reached "a new low."
“I can’t believe they are forcing these people, who are so desperate, to cross the picket line,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11. “Instead of addressing L.A.’s housing crisis, the hotel industry prefers to exploit the unhoused as strikebreakers to avoid paying their own workers enough to afford housing themselves.”
One attorney for the hotels said that they “did not knowingly use unhoused individuals, if they even did so” and calling it “another red herring” by the union.
“I do wonder how a hotel is supposed to know whether a person is homeless if they list an address and show up bathed and clean and sober?” Keith Grossman, a lawyer representing a collective of over 40 hotel proprietors and operators in Southern California during their negotiations with the union, conveyed to the Times.
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