Hotel Workers to LA County: We’re Getting Sick

With an increasing number of their members testing positive for COVID-19, hotel workers are asking Los Angeles County to pause the reopening of area hotels to tourists. Demonstrators protested the reopening Wednesday.

According to officials from UNITE HERE Local 11 which represents thousands of area hotel workers, approximately 85 hotel workers and guests have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have gone into quarantine because they have been in contact with guests or co-workers who tested positive since hotels began reopening in mid June.

The union contends the actual number of people who have contracted the virus or who should have quarantined due their potential exposure is considerably higher. Workers are fearful to report their symptoms or diagnoses and hotels have failed to adequately trace guests and workers who have had contact with COVID-19-positive individuals, union officials maintain.

“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors needs to put the health and safety of workers and guests first,” said Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen.

Earlier this month, a Local 11 survey found that 75 % of hotel workers do not believe hotels are ready to open.  The union has sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors expressing alarm about the rushed timeline of the sector’s reopening.

UNITE HERE Local 11 represents more than 32,000 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas and convention centers in Southern California and Arizona.

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