Freehand Los Angeles Buyer Alert: Non-Union Freehand Workers Organize as Los Angeles Union Hotel Workers Make Historic Gains

Potential Freehand Los Angeles buyers should be aware of a labor dispute and worker organizing at the property, which opened in June 2017. Although thousands of UNITE HERE Local 11 members work within blocks of the hotel, Freehand workers do not have union representation.

This could soon change.

Workers at the Freehand hotel have sought to exercise their legal rights in response to poor working conditions, low wages, and possible wage theft. By contrast, workers at the Westin Bonaventure, J.W. Marriott and other downtown hotels recently won a historic contract that will raise minimum hourly pay to over $25 per hour, improve health care coverage, strengthen a defined-benefit pension plan and bolster protections against sexual harassment and abuse.

According to Freehand workers, after they began to organize, hotel security threatened and sought to intimidate them. Local 11 has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that hotel security and management engaged in unlawful surveillance of their organizing activity, in violation of federal labor law.

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Furthermore, on January 30, around 100 workers, LGBTQ activists, and community allies protested at the Freehand hotel after an incident in which a hotel security guard allegedly made offensive remarks referencing the Westboro Baptist Church to a group of clergy and LGBTQ activists advocating on behalf of hotel workers.

Potential Freehand buyers should ensure their due diligence process assesses headline risks, legal risks and other risks posed by worker organizing at the hotel.

Press contact: Rachel Sulkes
Mobile number: (602) 327-4084