A four-month union boycott of eight major Los Angeles-area hotels is costing the facilities millions of dollars, but so far it's failed to achieve its intended result of moving along collective bargaining negotiations.


The Westin Century Plaza Hotel & Spa and the other hotels locked in a labor dispute have lost at least $5 million in canceled meeting, banquet and convention business, according to Local 11 of Unite HERE a figure not disputed by the hotels.


It's likely the hotels have lost even more business from conventions and other events that have not been scheduled because of the boycott, though hotel representatives are not willing to release exact numbers.


"The cost of the boycott is becoming substantial," acknowledged Fred Muir, a consultant to the Los Angeles Hotel Employer's Council, which is bargaining on behalf of the hotels. "(The extent) is what we are not prepared to talk about."


The 2,800 member local of housekeepers, maintenance people and other hotel employees targeted the hotels on Nov. 11 after months of negotiations failed to produce a contract.


Aside from wage and benefit increases, a big stumbling block has been a union demand for the contract to end in 2006, coinciding with the expiration dates in other cities. This presumably would give the union more power as a massive collective bargaining unit.


* The full version of this story is available in the March 21 edition of the Los Angeles Business Journal.

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