Santa Monica

Messi, Inter Miami back striking SoCal workers and switch hotels

“On this day, we’re happy because we thank Messi because he didn’t come to stay at this hotel and is supporting us,” said Arturo Hueso, who along with fellow workers staged a thank-you rally for Messi outside the Fairmont Miramar on Saturday afternoon

Workers hold up a sign that reads, "Thank you Messi."
NBCLA

Soccer superstar Lionel Messi, in Southern California ahead of his team’s clash with LAFC, drew praise from striking hospitality workers after he and his team heeded their calls and switched hotels.

Messi and his Inter Miami teammates were set to check in to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica on Friday but were asked by striking workers to cancel their stay, said Maria Hernandez, a spokesperson for Unite Here Local 11, which says it represents more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona.

Hotel security and striking workers clashed at the Santa Monica establishment last month.

“On this day, we’re happy because we thank Messi because he didn’t come to stay at this hotel and is supporting us,” said Arturo Hueso, who along with fellow workers staged a thank-you rally for Messi outside the Fairmont Miramar on Saturday afternoon.

The move also drew praise from The Major League Soccer Players Association, the union that represents players in the league.

“The MLSPA is proud to stand with the striking workers at the Fairmont Miramar and other LA area hotels, and we applaud the decision by MLS and Inter Miami to change hotels this weekend. We urge all of the hotels to reach fair contracts with their workers ASAP, “ the union wrote in a statement posted to X.

NBC4 reached out to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel but did not immediately receive a response.

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However, in a statement, Keith Grossman – an attorney for the Coordinated Bargaining Group, which represents a coalition of 44 hotels in LA and Orange counties in negotiations with Unite Here Local 1 – panned the decision for Messi and Inter Miami to switch hotels.

“This Union effort regarding Messi and his Team is just one more nonsensical Union effort to drive business away from LA hotels. It’s unfortunate for our employees and for the City that Local 11 is focused more on its political agenda than on bargaining," he said. "We offered the Union dates to bargain and they have simply ignored us. They are more interested in strikes and boycotts, which is not going to help get us to a settlement.”

Unite Here Local 11 authorized the strike in July after their contract with hotels expired. Workers at the Fairmont Miramar and 16 other hotels are on strike. They’re asking for increased wages to keep up with the rising costs of housing.

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