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Los Angeles hotel strike: Lionel Messi cancels his stay at the Fairmont Miramar

Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi and other players from the Inter Miami team were due to stay at a hotel in Santa Monica where workers are on strike this weekend. But Unite Here Local 11 said on Friday the team was canceling its booking at the union’s request, urging Messi to respect a boycott of around 60 Southern California hotels that have not signed a contract. employment contract.

Messi travels to BMO Stadium this Sunday for a game against LAFC. Tickets for Sunday’s game soared when news broke this summer that Messi was joining Inter Miami.

Messi was originally due to check in at the Fairmont Miramar on Friday afternoon, Unite Here Local 11 spokeswoman Maria Hernandez said.

The hotel is one of 13 establishments where union members walked out on Wednesday. This means football players, all members of the MLS Players Assn. union, would have had to cross another union’s picket line to stay at the Fairmont.

The footballers’ union issued a statement on Friday afternoon welcoming Inter Miami’s decision to change hotels.

“MLSPA is proud to stand with the strikers at the Fairmont Miramar and other Los Angeles-area hotels,” the association said in a statement. a social media post. “We urge all hotels to enter into fair contracts with their workers as soon as possible.”

Inter Miami representatives Molly Dreska and Rafael Cabrera, as well as Fairmont Miramar human resources director Ashley Eberhard, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“The Fairmont Miramar housekeepers, cooks, bellboys and waiters thank the great Lionel Messi and his teammates for agreeing to leave the hotel and stand with the strikers,” the union said in a statement. release Friday afternoon.

The day before, Unite Here Local 11 had publicly called on Messi and his teammates “to stand in solidarity with us and stay out of the Fairmont Miramar”.

“Just two weeks ago, workers at the Fairmont Miramar called for a boycott of their hotel after hotel security guards were filmed violently attacking their own employees as they attempted to establish a picket line. » the union said.

The pickets at the Santa Monica hotel were the scene of violent altercations in which workers were injured. Security personnel pushed and attacked picketing hotel workers who appeared to be trying to break through a temporary barricade after a gathering of strikers in early August, according to video footage of the incident.

The union and local elected officials have sharply criticized the Fairmont and several other establishments in Los Angeles and Orange counties in recent weeks where violence had broken out against the strikers.

The union filed a complaint Aug. 7 with the National Labor Relations Board, highlighting what it calls a series of violent incidents and destruction of property. The complaint cited three hotels – including the Fairmont Miramar – alleging that hotel management condoned or condoned attacks on workers.

Shortly after, the union called for a boycott of the Fairmont Miramar as well as the Maya Hotel in Long Beach and the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point, the other two hotels named in the complaint. The boycott has since been extended to many other hotels in talks with the union that have not reached a contract.

Keith Grossman, a lawyer with Hirschfeld Kraemer which represents a coalition of 44 hotels involved in negotiations with Unite Here Local 11, said on Monday the union’s call for a boycott of visitors and conventions would hurt the city and communities. small businesses that depend on conventions.

Asked about Inter Miami’s decision, Grossman reiterated his concern that a boycott could damage the city’s reputation in the long run.

“This effort by the Union regarding Messi and his team is just one more foolish effort by the Union to keep business away from hotels in Los Angeles,” Grossman said in an email. “It is unfortunate for our employees and for the City that Local 11 is focusing more on its political agenda than on negotiations. We offered the union bargaining dates and they just ignored us. They are more interested in strikes and boycotts, which will not help us reach an agreement.”

Los Angeles Times

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