Workers seeking justice face intimidation, unfair treatment, retaliation, and harassment, which rob them of energy. Then they often need to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Low-wage workers often suffer wage theft, and their low compensation may force them to choose between a 4-hour daily commute or substandard housing (or even sleeping in their cars). When they appeal for better wages or safer working conditions, they sometimes face retribution.
Clergy and lay leaders are expert counselors, chaplains, and allies of people facing oppression. And faith communities have resources to directly help those facing hardship. Longtime UUSM partner Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) brings together faith leaders and community members across Southern California to act in solidarity with low-wage workers—mostly women, immigrants, and people of color—as they seek dignity, justice, and fair work.
Join in solidarity with Santa Monica hotel workers
Currently, CLUE is supporting hospitality workers’ fight to win a living wage as well as the ability to thrive and fully participate in their families and communities. According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, the living wage in Los Angeles for a single parent with one child is $43.81/hour. On average, hotel workers make around $25/hour. Many housekeepers earn closer to $20/hour.
During the current contract fight, CLUE is bringing the community to these workers’ struggles, offering encouragement and reinforcement for the 30,000 workers undertaking rolling strikes at 60 area hotels. CLUE and UUSM volunteers have been accompanying workers at the Fairmont Miramar on the picket line. UUSM and CLUE have supported their fight since before the Fairmont became a union hotel, and we will stand with them until they win an equitable contract.
UUSM’s partnership with CLUE
CLUE enables an organized, connected, interfaith community to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.
What does that look like? It looks like living wages, affordable health care, workplace safety, sane scheduling, and a seat at the table in making decisions about working conditions. How does CLUE do it? Workplace by workplace: as workers develop a vision, local CLUE committees help them develop their voice and then amplify that voice with the power of scripture, love, and compassion. When the struggle is hard, CLUE offers courage and encouragement that they might persevere.
Our UU faith tells us that every person has worth and dignity, and we believe in equity, justice, and compassion. Our UU Santa Monica congregation has long been part of CLUE’s important struggles for justice.
- Accompanying workers at the Bonus Carwash at Lincoln and Ashland as they sought to unionize.
- Supporting workers at countless Santa Monica hotels over many decades as they sought collective power and continue to use it to bargain for better wages and working conditions, including panic buttons to protect workers from sexual assault and safer room-cleaning policies that protect housekeepers from injury.
- Walking with workers at the (in)famous Chateau Marmont as they spoke out against harassment and discrimination
Our practice here at UUSM is to dedicate half of our non-pledge Sunday offerings to organizations doing work in the world that advances our Unitarian Universalist principles; the other 50% of the offering is used to support the life of our church.
UUSM’s Generous Congregation program supports our church community. And together, we uplift the reach and impact of vital organizations doing work we could not do on our own. This month, half of our Sunday offerings will go to CLUE. Your donations will help strategize tactics for winning campaigns and support hotel workers, in intimate solidarity, to win real benefits for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
Please consider supporting the mission of our church, and CLUE. To give right now, text “$20 GCC” to 844-982-0209. (One-time-only credit card registration required.) Or visit uusm.org/donate and reference Generous Congregation. Thank you.