Oscar Orellana, 30, paused in the shade of the InterContinental and waved back at one of the drivers who honked while passing by.
For six years, Mr. Orellana has worked in the housekeeping department at the hotel, where he ensures that linens are stocked on each floor. His parents, too, long worked in hotel housekeeping; his father was picketing at a nearby Ritz-Carlton, he said.
“I used to see my parents, and they loved their job, which made me want to go into the hotel world, and I love my job,” he said. But his three-hour round-trip commute from Long Beach, about 25 miles away, along with his heavier workload and the inability to comfortably afford an occasional sweet treat for his 4-year-old, has made it “impossible for us to be in there working — that’s why we’re out here striking,” he said.
To the west, at the upscale Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, dozens of workers picketed outside the manicured flowering hedges lining the property. A few guests said the hotel seemed to be running well overall, but they were frustrated by small inconveniences — like a shortage of clean towels — at such a pricey property. They also felt caught in an awkward social position during a time when they just wanted to relax.
“I’m a union worker, so I can sympathize if they’re not getting paid fair wages,” said John Smith, 38, who was visiting with his wife from San Bernardino.
But, he added, “we’re trying to enjoy the holiday — I took two days off for this.”
Just outside the property, on a street corner, a bride and groom posed for photos with their arms around each other. Yards away from them, striking workers wearing bright red could be seen marching and waving signs above their heads.