BEVERLY HILLS—The City of Beverly Hills filed a lawsuit against a union representing striking hotel workers on Tuesday, August 15, claiming that their protests have drawn noise complaints from nearby residents.
The suit which was filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court is seeking a court order to direct demonstrators from the Unite Here! Local 11 to limit their protests to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Protestors are said to be using drums and bullhorns as early as 5:30 a.m. outside of the Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.
Residents have been reporting that they’ve been hearing screaming, shouting, and whistles in the area of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. BHPD have received reports and investigated. According to investigators, protesters refused to identify themselves expect for union representatives.
The union’s Co-President Kurt Petersen issued a statement Wednesday, August 16, regarding the lawsuit.
“It is beyond outrageous that the city of Beverly Hills is using its resources to stifle the First Amendment-protected protest activity of low-wage, immigrant workers,” the statement read. “These are workers who make its luxury hotels run and who are simply seeking a living wage. The city should be helping to lift them up, not attack them with baseless lawsuits.”
On July 24, City Manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey addressed another union leader from Unite Here! Local 11 named Sol and told her that the drums were disturbing residents. She asked that Sol and other union members delay their demonstrations until 8 a.m. and to stop using drums. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Sol responded.
On July 26, Capt. Giovanni Trejo of the BHPD went to the location where the protests were being held asking that one of the union representatives, Lorena Lopez, hold off on the noise before 8 a.m. According to the suit, “she indicated she would consider the request, but did not commit to complying.”
Later that day the police department responded to complaints from Beverly Hills staff and security who claimed that they were experiencing aggression from some of the protestors. Allegedly, the protesters broke through a barrier, injured a security guard, blew bullhorns in peoples ears, blocked traffic and screamed.
One Beverly Hills residents commented on social media shortly after the news of the lawsuit broke stating, “Residents are cry babies. Stay Strong Writers and SAG-AFTRA.”
George Vreeland Hill wrote his account of the protests in Beverly Hills on Facebook on July 25,” A lot of protesting going on in Beverly Hills. This one is at the Beverly Wilshire. There are others at the Waldorf and Beverly Hills Hilton. Probably other hotels as well. They are making a lot of noise. No contract, no peace? Try getting some sleep today.”