California officials urge Taylor Swift to 'Speak Now' and postpone L.A. concerts over hotels strike
The officials signed an open letter to Swift backing Unite Here Local 11, a union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers across Southern California and Arizona, imploring the pop star to postpone her upcoming L.A. performances in solidarity with the striking workers. Swift is scheduled to perform six sold-out shows in Los Angeles County beginning Thursday.
The letter claims that Swift’s performances are boosting local hotel revenue by increasing demand as contract negotiations between workers and hotel companies are at a standstill and as the region faces a worsening cost-of-living crisis.
"The hotels are making more money than ever, but many workers cannot afford to live close to where they work. Some of them even sleep in their cars between shifts. Others are at risk of losing their homes," said the letter, whose signatories include Eleni Kounalakis, California's lieutenant governor, and Janice Hahn, the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
"Hotel workers are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for a living wage. They have gone on strike. Now, they are asking for your support," the letter says, urging Swift to “Speak Now,” a reference to her third studio album.
A spokesperson for Swift did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.
Thousands of hotel workers began striking last month, demanding higher wages and other benefits as they argue their existing salaries cannot sustain them in the Los Angeles area, where ballooning rents and inescapable homelessness typify the county's politics.
Unite Here Local 11 has been in contract negotiations with hotels since late April, and the union is requesting an immediate increase of $5 per hour in wages and an additional $3 per hour raise each year over a span of two years. Also among its demands are health care benefits, a pension plan, and a policy that would ban the use of E-Verify, the federal system that checks a worker’s immigration status.
The union claims these changes would help offset expected cost increases ahead of the 2026 soccer World Cup and the 2028 Summer Olympics, both of which are scheduled to hold events in Los Angeles, and help workers to afford local housing.
For its part, the Coordinated Bargaining Group, a coalition representing 44 hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties, filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union in June. The group argued that Unite Here Local 11 failed to bargain “in good faith” by striking and by failing to respond to a counteroffer from the coalition, a spokesperson for the group said in a statement.