Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Los Angeles to Drop Ballot Measure That Would Require Hotels to House Homeless

4 months ago

Los Angeles’ city council appeared this week to have reached a political compromise with the local hotel workers’s union about a controversial plan to mandate that hotels temporarily house the homeless.

At issue is a long-running dispute. Earlier this year, LA’s powerful hotel union, Unite Here Local 11, successfully pushed the city’s council to put an initiative on the ballot for voters in March 2024. One of the initiative’s most controversial proposals was to mandate that hotel operators take part in a city program to place the homeless in otherwise vacant hotel rooms temporarily.

Hotel operators would have to report daily on their vacancy rate and had to accept temporary housing vouchers to cover the cost of temporarily housing the homeless.

The idea sparked outraged LinkedIn commentary. But more importantly, the hotel industry’s array of lobbying organizations, including the American Hotel & Lobbying Association, led a campaign against the idea with a mix of editorials in publications like The Hill and appearances in news programs tied to a survey of locals opposing the effort that AHLA sponsored.

The Center For Union Facts ran a TV ad called “Hotel Hell.”

Hoteliers argued that the mandate was unfair.

Others were nervous about reports of hotels receiving damage when participating in the voluntary effort. LA’s boutique 294-room Mayfair Hotel claimed to suffer significant acts of vandalism and damage during six months of participation in a different effort, called Project Roomkey, which transformed whole properties into temporary shelters, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

As of Friday, a proposal that removed the homeless mandate was still two votes short of passage in the L.A. City Council, reported the Los Angeles Times, but political insiders said they were optimistic. The California Hotel & Lodging Association and the Hotel Association of Los Angeles supported the compromise, which they helped facilitate along with council member Traci Park, Council President Paul Krekorian, and others.

Unite Here Local 11 said it considered the deal a victory. The pact includes the City Council promising to okay a set of fresh regulations on hotel development that would tighten the standards for the approval process to link hotel creation with the parallel creation of residential housing construction. Other criteria include vetting whether there is enough demand to support the hotels and what side effects development may have on the local demand for childcare and other city services.

“We have said all along that our contract campaign has been about two things: housing for our members where they work and a living wage,” said Kurt Petersen, the union’s co-president, in a statement.

An L.A. Times report on the proposed political deal related to hotel and the homeless.

Tourism

Iceland Tourism Could Feel Impact From Labor Unrest

1 year ago

Industrial actions are likely to disrupt gasoline supplies and hospitality services in Iceland’s capital region, impacting the tourism industry. Travelers may need to think of backup plans for their accommodations and transportation routes.

The Efling union, one of the largest labor unions in the country representing workers in and around the city of Reykjavik, has been planning to strike after its members voted on the subject matter earlier in February.

Disrupted hotel services in the capital city will affect Iceland’s key tourism industry, which makes up 39 percent of its total export revenue. Tourism is one of Iceland’s most dependable money-making sectors and made up 15.7 percent of its total workforce in 2017.

“Our demand is for a fair wage agreement that takes into account the circumstances and composition of our members,” said Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, the chair of Efling, in a union statement. “I encourage negotiating parties to strike an agreement with us.”

Almost 700 Efling union members in hotel services went on strike last week at seven Íslandshotel locations. Three more strike notices were put up for votes by the negotiating committee of the Efling union on Sunday, February 12. An additional 1,700 Efling members are anticipated to strike before the end of the month if the vote is approved, which includes hotel employees at Centerhotels and Keahótels.

Seventy oil truckers went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday. More will follow should the Efling union fail to reach an agreement with the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA). Gas stations can run into supply shortages as soon as Thursday evening, possibly delaying travel plans and tourism recovery.

“This is a matter of concern because Iceland is dependent on oil, and it is quite clear that this will hit us pretty hard if it happens,” Þórður Guðjónsson, CEO of Shell’s official reseller in Iceland told the local media.

Some essential services, such as the police, ambulances, hospitals and search-and-rescue teams, are observed to be exempted from union actions.

“In the coming days, society will feel the effects of strikes in a tangible way,” Þórbergsson said to local media. “I predict that either side of the weekend, most of our daily lives will be paralysed.”