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Los Angeles Hotels Hiring Homeless Migrants From Skid Row To Replace Striking Workers

  Several Los Angeles hotels are replacing employees with homeless migrants from Skid Row as the city deals with a wave of hotel worker stri...

 Several Los Angeles hotels are replacing employees with homeless migrants from Skid Row as the city deals with a wave of hotel worker strikes and an influx of migrants from the southern border.

About 15,000 employees have gone on strike at about 60 hotels in Southern California since early July, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Since then, the hotels have been replacing those union members, including with workers from Skid Row’s homeless migrant population.

Migrants have been recruited in recent weeks for work at the Four Points by Sheraton and Holiday Inn LAX, both near Los Angeles International Airport, as well as the Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica.

Ten people from one Skid Row homeless shelter told the Times they were hired at hotels where workers were picketing outside. Most of the ten migrants were from Venezuela or Colombia.

The hotel workers are striking for higher wages, better benefits, and improved working conditions, saying they do not earn enough to afford housing near their workplaces.

The co-president of the union representing the striking hotel workers condemned the hotels’ move to hire migrants, saying the hotels had “had stooped to a new low.”

“I can’t believe they are forcing these people, who are so desperate, to cross the picket line,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11. “Instead of addressing L.A.’s housing crisis, the hotel industry prefers to exploit the unhoused as strikebreakers to avoid paying their own workers enough to afford housing themselves.”

The hotels pushed back on that accusation, an attorney for the hotels saying they “did not knowingly use unhoused individuals, if they even did so” and calling it “another red herring” by the union.

“I do wonder how a hotel is supposed to know whether a person is homeless if they list an address and show up bathed and clean and sober?” Keith Grossman, an attorney representing a group of more than 40 Southern California hotel owners and operators in negotiations with the union told the Times.

So far, Los Angeles has avoided a migrant crisis at the scale of the situations in New York and Chicago, which are scrambling to shelter tens of thousands of new migrants who have arrived from south of the U.S.-Mexico border over the last year.

However, Los Angeles has seen nearly 20 buses of new migrants arrive in the city lately.

Meanwhile, like several other West Coast cities, Los Angeles is also dealing with an increasingly desperate homelessness crisis and a drug problem.

Los Angeles has a huge homelessness population, with more than 69,100 homeless people in Los Angeles County and about 42,000 in Los Angeles itself as of February.

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