Raised on the Picket Line, Santa Monica Student Celebrates Her Mother’s Victory

Stephanie and Maria (2016)

Hotel workers from the Santa Monica Doubletree and community allies will gather today outside City Hall to announce that, after 16 years, they are joining the hospitality workers union, UNITE HERE Local 11.

Housekeeper Maria Cortez was pregnant when they launched their organizing drive in 2001. Now her daughter Stephanie is about to enter her senior year at Santa Monica High (see attached photos).

“I am so proud of how my mother and her coworkers worked to win respect and dignity at their workplace,” said Stephanie Cortez. “I grew up on the picket line. These women are like my second family. I am so inspired by their perseverance, and now I’m so happy that they finally won their union!”

Throughout campaign, the Santa Monica community rallied behind the 83 workers—predominantly immigrant women—as they sought dignity, good salaries, benefits, and job security. Local activists, clergy, and political leaders like Kevin McKeown and Tony Vazquez will all celebrate this victory today.

Stephanie and Maria (2000)
Stephanie and Maria (2016)