In November 2023, a half-dozen members of the UU Congregation of Santa Monica joined nearly 100 Santa Monica faith leaders, community members, and hospitality workers at St. Augustine By-The-Sea for a Santa Monica Truth Commission hosted by CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice).
They bore witness to the injustices against workers at Santa Monica hotels like Fairmont Miramar, the Viceroy, and Le Méridien Delfina at an interfaith Truth Commission hearing.
Out of the hearing, a letter to the City of Santa Monica was drafted.
In the absence of action by the city, CLUE is asking you to sign and help circulate the petition demanding a city investigation. It doesn’t matter where you live. As a member of UUSM, you are a Santa Monica stakeholder and your signature has weight.
The Truth Commission letter called on the city to investigate the exploitation of unhoused workers brought in to replace striking workers at Le Méridien Delfina, and company retaliation against striking workers at the Viceroy and Le Méridien Delfina. (The original letter also included a request for investigation into violence and retaliation at the Fairmont Miramar, but the hotel has since made amends with workers and settled a tentative agreement.)
Many members of our UUSM Congregation have been connected to the current hospitality workers campaign for living wages and fair working conditions across Southern California, including more than five hotels in Santa Monica.
Almost half of the hotels have now reached tentative agreements with workers. But only one of the Santa Monica hotels has done so. An update is available here!
Negotiations with management began in Spring 2023. In June 2023, UUSM Member Jacki Weber was arrested on Century Boulevard in an act of civil disobedience! She was cheered on by fellow church members Cathie Gentile and Linda van Ligten.
Beginning in July, more members began bringing food and drink to striking workers at the Fairmont Miramar, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn, Le Méridien Delfina, the Viceroy and hotels beyond Santa Monica.
They have joined marches at many of the 60 hotels across Los Angeles and Orange Counties. They have rallied with workers on the picket lines. They have made calls to management. They have stayed home from holiday parties, refusing to eat, meet, or stay at boycotted hotels, and more.
You can join those who are already on board. Contact Jacki Weber, Linda van Ligten, or Cathie Gentile (in the church directory) for more information on how you can get involved!