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Los Angeles District Attorney Initiates Hotel Labor Probe In October

Examination of Labor Practices in Los Angeles Hotels Underway

By Dolores Quintana

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has officially initiated a comprehensive investigation into labor practices within hotels across Los Angeles County. This critical inquiry stems from recent strikes orchestrated by UNITE HERE Local 11, which have raised significant concerns about the alleged employment of unhoused refugees, particularly from Venezuela, to replace striking workers, notably within the housekeeping departments.

District Attorney Gascón emphasized the gravity of these allegations, stating, “The mistreatment of vulnerable workers and their exploitation will not be tolerated. We will conduct an exhaustive investigation, working closely with UNITE HERE Local 11 and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance with labor laws and protect the rights and dignity of all workers.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Ada Briceño condemned the actions of the hotels, affirming their commitment to fighting for all workers and appreciating District Attorney Gascón’s leadership in addressing the issue.

According to the press release from UNITE HERE Local 11, a refugee worker from Venezuela, Sebastian, stated, “I entered a situation where I didn’t even know which agency was hiring me, how much I was going to earn, how many hours I was going to work, much less my rights as a worker.” 

The investigation will scrutinize the hiring procedures of hotel employers in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, with a specific focus on the alleged employment of unhoused refugees. Moreover, the inquiry will comprehensively examine the circumstances surrounding the transportation of these workers, including claims that some were dispatched from Texas by Governor Abbott while others sought refuge in Los Angeles after fleeing violence in their home countries.

Individuals with relevant information are urged to come forward and share their experiences. Witnesses, hotel employees, and anyone possessing knowledge pertaining to this matter are strongly encouraged to contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at (213) 257-2540.

Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA, said, via a press release, “I’m outraged that Santa Monica hotels have resorted to exploiting the desperation of recent immigrants while their current employees fight for living wages and safe working conditions. It is indefensible that hotels would resort to employing vulnerable, newly-arrived refugees during an ongoing labor dispute with their employees, the vast majority of whom are immigrants themselves.”

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