Hotel Union Gears Up to Picket Major Hollywood Awards Ceremonies

Unite Here Local 11, the major hospitality union that is currently in a labor dispute with dozens of hotels in the Los Angeles area, is gearing up to picket major entertainment awards shows set to take place at these venues if their settings do not change.

Among the events that could see picket lines at ceremonies are The Golden Globe Awards, the American Cinematheque Awards Tribute To Helen Mirren, the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards, the ASC Awards, the International Cinematographers Guild Publicists Awards Luncheon, the CAS Awards, the Voice Arts Awards Gala, the 2023 HRTS Foundation Gala and the Unforgettable Gala, the Asian Pacific Islander Awards, which are all set to take place at The Beverly Hilton, according to a list provided to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Another key venue embroiled in the conflict with the union is the Fairmont Century Plaza, which is current set to host the Critics Choice Awards and the Pollstar Awards 2024.

Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of America has been working on moving their ceremony to a non-struck venue since September. The PGA honors were previously scheduled for the Fairmont. And the Art Directors Guild, which previously had scheduled its award ceremony for the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, is no longer holding their ceremony at the venue, says a representative.

Nearly all of these events involve creatives who belong to major Hollywood unions, which Unite Here Local 11 is highlighting, given that it is considered a cardinal sin in organized labor to cross a picket line. Some of these events — like the ICG Publicists Awards Luncheon and the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards — are staged by unions themselves. “We are calling upon all union members to not cross our strike lines at these hotels during any events, but especially during these awards shows,” says Unite Here Local 11 co-president Kurt Petersen. “And we’re confident that those shows are going to have to either move or cancel because no one is going to cross when we have a picket line out front.”

Organizations behind these events are all aware of the ongoing hotel labor dispute, per the union. (The Golden Globe Awards are produced by Dick Clark Productions, which is owned by the same parent company as THR.)

After the union’s latest labor contract expired on June 30, Unite Here Local 11 has staged rolling strikes, which have hit major hospitality venues at unexpected times. With the fight the union has sought major pay bumps for around 15,000 affected members — including dishwashers, housekeepers and cooks — to account for rising L.A.-area housing expenses. Since picket lines formed over the summer, only four hotels have come to agreements with the union: the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, the Biltmore Los Angeles, the Laguna Cliffs Marriott and the Loews Hollywood Hotel.

Unite Here Local 11 traditionally has maintained close ties to Hollywood unions. As it organized West Hollywood’s iconic Chateau Marmont, a favorite amongst Hollywood creatives, the Writers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, Directors Guild of America, IATSE and the Teamsters all threw their support behind the drive and multiple high-profile shoots at the hotel were shut down.

This year, as its own work stoppages raged, Unite Here Local 11 supported the writers’ and actors’ strikes over the summer and fall. As writers attempted to shut down ongoing film and television productions in the early days of their strike, the union sent a letter to employers saying its workers “will not cross any picket line set up by the WGA,” noting that these hotels “frequently serve as locations for film and television productions.” In turn, earlier this month the WGA sent a letter to the organization behind the American Film Market, which is affiliated with several Santa Monica hotels, asking them to honor “the workers’ boycott” of these hotels.

“What’s become clear in this year is that the fight for a living wage is not just a fight for hotel workers, but it’s a fight for actors and writers and Hollywood professionals, because we’re all facing these extraordinary, soaring housing costs,” says Petersen. “We have walked together on picket lines. They’ve been at our hotels, we’ve been at the studios, and we built amazing solidarity with the unions and with members.” The union also notes that Unite Here Local 11 has members who are writers and actors and belong to Hollywood unions.

Petersen says he’s “confident” that industry organization will pull these events. “No one is going to cross a picket line of room attendants and cooks and servers because there’s going to be no workers inside and there’s going to be no guests,” he says. “So this one is pretty clear, and we think that solidarity, as it has all year, will prevail.”

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