Fired Hotel Bel-Air workers ask Occupy L.A. to join their cause
Union workers who were laid off from the Hotel Bel-Air called on protesters from Occupy L.A. to join a protest of the famed five-star hotel.
The hotel laid off about 250 union workers when it closed for a two-year renovation project in 2009. It plans to reopen on Friday, having rehired only about a dozen former union workers.
The union representing the dismissed workers, Unite Here Local 11, claims the hotel used the renovation project to oust the union. It has called for a boycott of the hotel and plans to picket and march around the hotel Friday evening.
"We are asking everyone not to eat, sleep or meet here," Manuel Roman, an organizer for the union.
The union has invited Occupy L.A., the group that is camped out around Los Angeles City Hall to protest corporate greed, to join the demonstration at the hotel.
The union plans to send a bus to City Hall on Friday to take interested Occupy L.A. activists to the pink, Mission-styled hotel frequented by celebrities and presidents.
Occupy L.A. has no formal leader but protesters at City Hall said they recognize the situation at the hotel as another example of rich companies abusing poor workers.
"I'm going to join them," Ryan Rice, a participant at Occupy L.A. said of the protest at the Hotel Bel-Air.
Hotel officials have said they offered laid-off workers a severance package when they closed the hotel but could not promise to rehire them.
-- Hugo Martin
Photo: Laid-off Hotel Bel-Air workers talk to reporters after a news conference. Credit: Los Angeles Times