Some 20,000 workers from UNITE-HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles, Long Beach and other cities in Orange County, will vote for new union representatives, tomorrow June 18, 2014.
According to Adan Olea Robles, who is running for president of Local 11, this is the first time that the official leadership, lead by the union president Thomas Walsh, is facing an opposition represented by a majority of immigrant workers.
Olea-Robles himself is a Mexican immigrant who has worked for 23 years in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel; other 14 rank and file members are also seeking for the votes, which they are disputing with a slate of 25 official candidates (many of whom are seeking to be reelected).
UNITE-HERE Local 11 represents workers of many five star hotels in Southern California, LAX Airport, the Dodgers Stadium, USC, Pomona College, Loyola Marymount University, Disneyland hotels, Universal Studios, Staples and Nokia Centers, LA Convention Center, and the LA County Federation of Labor, just to mention some areas related to the hotel, restaurant, transportation, airport, food, gaming, textile, laundry, manufacturing, distribution and transportation industries.
Despite the fact that Adan Olea-Robles considers that these elections are carried out in a context of many irregularities, and besides the fact that many workers are afraid of loosing their jobs if they openly express disagreement with the current union leaders, he is confident that through their vote, the hardworking members of his union can change the status quo at UNITE-HERE Local 11.
“ We, the workers at UNITE-HERE Local 11 want respect of our labor rights; meals and rest breaks according to labor laws, appropriate working equipment, tools and materials, and safety protections. Having these basic rights stated and guaranteed on the contracts, we would carry out our duties in a better way (our work would be more productive); the companies would make more profits by preventing workplace accidents and this would save them worker’s compensation claims,” said Adan Olea Robles.
He added that currently, labor contracts bargained by union leaders do not benefit to the vast majority of workers and pointed out that all workers have to pay high union dues.
Olea Robles proposes to gain better retirement pensions, better dental and health benefits, and having better union organizers “ who can really fight for the interests of all rank and file members, in each workplace.”
The polling places will be open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. In order to be able to vote, all members of Local 11 have to be in good standing (dues through April 2014 must be paid) and show an identification with a picture at the polling place.
Every worker has to locate the polling place according to his or her workplace. On this link you can see a comprehensive list with all workplaces and addresses for voting.