SANTA MONICA—On Monday, October 23, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced an investigation into labor practices within hotels across Los Angeles County. Recent strikes have been organized by UNITE HERE Local 11 about alleged employment of unhoused refugees, particularly from Venezuela, to replace striking workers, notably in the housekeeping departments, as noted in a press release from the DA’s Office.
“We take these egregious allegations with the utmost seriousness,” said DA George Gascón. “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 said: “Thank you to District Attorney Gascón’s leadership on this issue. We will not stand by while that happens, our union is committed to continue fighting for all workers.”
The investigation is aimed for the hiring practices of hotel employers in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, with a specific focus on the alleged employment of unhoused refugees. The inquiry will examine the circumstances surrounding the transportation of these workers, including claims that some were dispatched from Texas by Governor Greg Abbott, while others sought refuge in Los Angeles after fleeing their home countries because of violence.
Individuals are asked to come forward with any information about labor practices and to share their experiences. Witnesses, hotel employees, and others with knowledge regarding the matter can contact the Consumer Protection Division at (213)257-2540.
The District Attorney attended a news conference with union officials October 23 in Santa Monica to discuss the investigation. State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles was also present. It is alleged that hotels in LAX and Santa Monica have hired migrant workers who are homeless.
During the press conference one of the migrant workers indicated she was unaware of the agency that was hiring her, she did not know how much pay she would receive and she was unaware how long she would work, she didn’t have breaks or permission to eat. She added, she was also doing the work of “three to four people. She added she received a check without any indication of how much she earned per hour.
“This investigation embodies the district attorney’s commitment to transparency, accountability and fairness within the hospitality industry. The office will provide regular updates on significant developments as the investigation progresses,” the LADA’s said in a statement.