Responsible Hotels: Century Boulevard

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Transforming the LAX Hotel Industry and Alleviating Poverty in Nearby Communities
As one of the largest industries in our region, the hospitality sector has a critical role to play in creating a new economy with good jobs and thriving communities. Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport is home to one of the county’s largest hospitality markets. Yet for too long, the hotels in this area have been a source of poverty jobs, affecting not only hotel workers but the surrounding communities where many of them live.

For the past several years, a coalition of community, civic, labor and faith leaders organized by LAANE has been engaged in a successful effort to improve conditions for the 3,500 workers employed at these hotels. The coalition has played an integral role in transforming the area by organizing local community involvement, gathering thousands of signatures in support of policy changes, participating in numerous rallies, and testifying at public hearings as part of a citywide mobilization in support of hotel workers on Century Boulevard.

Thanks to the efforts of the Coalition, Century Boulevard hotel workers won a major victory in 2008 with the final implementation of a living wage law. In addition, four major hotels on Century Boulevard have signed union contracts, including the Westin, the Four Points Sheraton, the Sheraton Gateway and, most recently, the Radisson LAX. These union contracts cover nearly 1,000 workers and their families, providing living wages, significant wage increases, free or affordable health insurance and many other benefits.

LAANE estimates that these increased salaries and benefits on Century Boulevard will put an extra $12.3 million in hotel workers’ pockets through 2012. This extra income will directly benefit local communities and the LAX area where these workers live and work. Of that $12.3 million, LAANE researchers estimate that workers will reinvest over two-thirds, or $8.4 million, back into the local community.

The effort to create better jobs continues at the Hilton LAX, which is still under boycott. The Hilton LAX has taken severe retaliatory action against workers who engaged in organizing activities and exercised their free speech rights. Despite the hotel’s response, workers and civic leaders are determined to persevere until the LAX Hilton becomes a responsible employer and community partner.

For a PDF of the landmark Century Boulevard Hotel Living Wage Ordinance, click here.