- Unite Here Local 11 — currently in the midst of the largest multihotel strike in Southern California history — called for a boycott of Los Angeles on Thursday, the union announced in a release obtained by Hotel Dive.
- The union is asking organizers of events and conventions to stay away from Los Angeles entirely — not just venues at hotels where workers are currently on strike.
- While the union has previously asked specific events — including Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and the American Political Science Association’s annual convention — to cancel or postpone, this boycott marks an escalation in scale. Unite Here says this is due to hotels’ lack of movement in negotiations, which stalled just before the union’s third wave of strikes in July.
A boycott goes beyond asking travelers not to cross a picket line.
“Boycott means don’t give your business at all,” Unite Here Local 11 communications specialist Maria Hernandez told Hotel Dive. “Don’t eat, sleep, stay or party.”
It also means the union is asking for those visiting Los Angeles to avoid the area’s hotels regardless of if they have active picket lines, calling hotels with Unite Here-represented workers not on strike “strike-ready.”
Several events have already been canceled or relocated out of solidarity with workers, who are striking for wages that can better keep up with Southern California’s rising cost of living. Organizations that have canceled or moved events include The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Japanese American Citizens League, The Democratic Governors Association and the production for reality show “Vanderpump Rules.”
“We moved our event twice, to stand with hotel workers,” said Ana Grande, executive director of the non-profit Program for Torture Victims, adding that she believes non-profit and for-profit event organizers should move their conferences and gatherings “to places that value hospitality workers.”
The union previously called for other major events to postpone or cancel, as well. Earlier this month, Unite Here asked Taylor Swift to postpone her six-night Los Angeles Eras Tour run, citing the “Swift lift” that usually benefits hotels in the cities she performs in. The union also called for the American Political Science Association to cancel its annual meeting and exhibition, which is scheduled for the first weekend of September.
Though the American Political Science Association declined to cancel its September event, hundreds of its members have opted not to attend in protest of the decision.
Despite some cancellations, Los Angeles still posted a strong month for events volume in July, beating Chicago to become the top U.S. events market that month. Jeff Bzdawka, CEO of meetings and events intelligence provider Knowland, told Hotel Dive earlier this week that the strike had presented “more of an operational challenge than a loss of business” for the city last month.
Unite Here Local 11 previously called for boycotts of three Southern California hotels — Hotel Maya in Long Beach, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point and Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica — in response to allegations of physical or verbal altercations at picket lines on the properties.