The Los Angeles Hospitality Training Academy was a flurry of activity this past week, as UNITE HERE Local 11, a Los Angeles-based hospitality workers union was on site helping its members file for unemployment, train for new skills, and apply for future opportunities, according to ABC News/ABC7.com.
Both union representatives and members lamented the number of colleagues who had suddenly lost work in light of coronavirus-related business closings. “Right now, I’m feeling so bad for us and for our families and all our workers,” said Cristina Navarro, who was laid off from her position as a housekeeper at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
Hospitality workers are noteworthy for being a particularly necessary and as such vulnerable workforce during the pandemic. Says Maria Hernandez, an Organizer for UNITE HERE Local 11, “Our union represents over 32,000 members in the hospitality foodservice industry so that’s hotels, stadiums, convention centers, casinos, the airports all-over southern California and Arizona. And so really we believe our members are on the front lines of this pandemic that is going on,” said.
Susan Minato, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11, detailed what the union is doing to help: “We’ve put a remote system together so that our people from the hospitality industry can sign up for unemployment. Then we’re taking their names and numbers to see if they’re interested in some additional upscaling type of training.”
On Friday, the union assisted more than 400 workers in filing for unemployment.
Read more about UNITE HERE Local 11’s efforts in Los Angeles here.