WEST HOLLYWOOD— On Thursday, July 23, former Chateau Marmont employees, allies and neighbors marched at the landmark. Nearly all of Chateau Marmont’s 242 employees were allegedly laid-off in March without insurance or severance after the initial COVID-19 lockdown.
The Chateau Marmont is a hotel located at 8221 Sunset Boulevard. It’s notable for having hosted the likes of Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt.
The protest was organized by Unite Here Local 11, a labor union that represents over 30,000 hospitality workers.
The protesters delivered a letter to the CEO and owner of the Chateau Marmont, André Balazs. It stated in part:
“We have been impressed by the stories we have heard of the incredible spirit of these workers and their contributions to the Chateau Marmont. From the valets, who the Hollywood Reporter called ‘the unsung heroes of Hollywood’, to everyone else at the hotel, These workers have secured the Chateau’s reputation as an essential Los Angeles institution.
From that perspective, we are surprised to hear that during a global pandemic, Chateau workers are not receiving ongoing health insurance benefits from a company that calls itself a family. Hotels throughout Hollywood are continuing to pay health insurance costs for staff who are not currently working.
Workers at the Chateau deserve dignity and respect. As community members deeply invested in the success of the Chateau and well-being of its workers, we are outraged that Chateau Marmont is not providing ongoing affordable health insurance coverage to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are watching the hotel’s conduct and will not tolerate any attempt to retaliate against workers who are speaking out about their treatment at the Chateau Marmont.”
The letter was signed by 300 community members, members of the entertainment industry, clergy, politicians, and others.
On Tuesday, June 16, Los Angeles councilmember David Ryu had sent a letter to Balazs, offering to assist him in providing “basic protections” for workers and guaranteeing “employer-sponsored health insurance for [his] laid-off workers.”
Balazs then replied to Ryu by expressing that employees “received equitably divided financial support based on seniority, which provided a minimum of $350 to everyone who may have worked for only months to well over $5,000 for our much treasured, long-tenured employees. All members of our team today retain full and complete health-care benefits.”