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Workers OK Strike at 5 L.A. Hotels

Union workers at five L.A. area hotels--including the landmark Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica and the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City--approved a strike vote on Friday. Housekeepers and other employees complain that the five properties--which also include the Holiday Inn and Wilshire Plaza, both downtown, and the Marriott Manhattan Beach--pay low wages for heavy workloads.

As in many cities across North America, labor union Unite Here has been waging a campaign to standardize hotel pay scales and jibe contract expiration dates. If union contracts expire uniformly across the continent, even large hotel chains would be hard pressed to fill in vacant jobs with out-of-towners or management. At present, most hotel contracts are negotiated on a local basis.

Other big hotels in the area--including The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, the Millennium Biltmore downtown and the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on the Westside--have agreed to new union contracts in the last year. The contracts have included wage increases for non-tipped employees, maintenance of health benefits and lighter housekeeping workloads.

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