The Associated Students of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) approved a resolution Wednesday, March 28th, calling on the university to boycott the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel in support of low-wage workers.
The vote by the LMU student government group comes near the one-year anniversary of a student-led march in front of the hotel in April last year after workers, students and community leaders raised concerns about what they alleged were low wages, lack of affordable healthcare, heavy workloads and work-related injuries at the hotel.
The Associated Students boycott vote also comes after the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance earlier this year that extends the cityís living wage law to the airport-area hotels on the Century Boulevard Corridor.
Implementation of the law has been delayed by a Superior Court judge after business groups in opposition to the ordinance filed a lawsuit.
Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti has also called for a boycott of the Hilton LAX, in a February 27th letter that urges hotel patrons to avoid booking at the hotel ìuntil the dispute is resolved.î
The Associated Students group said LMU lists the Hilton LAX hotel, considered the third largest in Southern California, as one of its preferred hotels and has a longstanding business relationship and corporate account with the hotel.
ìToday we made the statement that our university must carry out its mission statement and promote social justice in our own backyard,î said James Duffy, a member of the Student Senate.
Alberto Ramirez, a 2006 LMU alumnus, added that by calling for a boycott of the hotel, the LMU student group is sending a message that they will ìhonor social justice.î
ìAs a student, I was taught the service of faith and the promotion of social justice,î Ramirez said. ìOur university can be a drum major for justice by honoring the boycott of the Hilton LAX hotel.î
Grant Coonley, general manager of the Hilton LAX, termed the recent calls by Garcetti and the LMU student group for a boycott of the hotel ìtotally inappropriate.î While college students have the right to take such a stance, the Hilton LAX has been a ìgood neighborî to LMU, Coonley said.
The Hilton LAX pays competitive wages to its workers and many of its employees have been working at the hotel for a long time, Coonley said.
Over the last several months, major clients, including the California Teachers Association and the Los Angeles Episcopal Jubilee Ministries, pulled their business from the Hilton LAX, vowing to return once conditions changed, the student group said.
ìThe mistreatment of workers at this hotel violates the most fundamental values this university stands for,î alleged Blake Saunders, president of Students for Labor and Economic Justice. ìNo student, faculty member, department or trustee should eat, sleep or meet in this hotel until workers are given the respect and dignity they deserve.î
Coonley said he doesnít expect the recent boycott calls to have any effect on business at the hotel, adding that January was one of the most successful Januaries in a long time.