Ahead of Comic-Con, Hilton Bayfront workers end strike as tentative deal is reached
As thousands of fans stream into the San Diego Convention Center for Comic-Con International Thursday, they will not be met with the sight of striking hotel workers from the neighboring Hilton Bayfront, following hours of negotiations that led to a deal between labor and the company late Wednesday night.
Unite Here Local 30 reached an agreement with Hilton Bayfront San Diego — literally steps away from the Convention Center's halls — following a strike on Wednesday with hundreds of picketing workers. The details were not immediately available as union members needed to ratify the deal.
"This tentative agreement addresses the many issues our hotel workers are experiencing in this tough economic environment," said Brigette Browning, president of Unite Here Local 30. "The economy cannot truly recover from the pandemic by leaving behind residents who work in the hospitality industry, and now these hardworking San Diegans have a fighting chance to succeed."
"We did not want to strike during this important week for San Diego tourism, but it's clear this is what it took to get the wages and benefits these workers deserve," she added.
“Hilton San Diego Bayfront is pleased to have reached a tentative labor agreement with Unite Here Local 30, which will benefit our valued Team Members represented by the union," a Hilton San Diego Bayfront spokesperson said in a statement to KPBS. "The hotel is operating as normal, and we look forward to welcoming guests and continuing to provide them with our signature hospitality.”
The workers received backing from city leadership, with Mayor Todd Gloria and Councilmen Stephen Whitburn and Raul Campillo joining a rally with workers on July 13. Browning also thanked County Supervisor Vice Chair Nora Vargas, City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert as well as other organizations standing in solidarity.
"I have personally been in communication with the management at Hilton urging them to come to a fair compromise on wages and working conditions as they return to pre-pandemic revenues at the hotel," Gloria said in a statement released at the time.
Union leadership paused the strike after the tentative deal was reached. The agreement still must be ratified by the membership of Unite Here Local 30 before it becomes final.
A statement from Hilton said the company was confident any agreement reached would be in the best interest of both workers and the hotel, but it had contingency plans to make things run smoothly in case an agreement was not forthcoming. The hotel is scheduled to host dozens of panels and events for Comic-Con.
Unite Here Local 30 represents nearly 600 hotel workers at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, many of whom have been employed there since the hotel opened in 2008. Unite Here Local 30 is the hotel and hospitality workers' union and represents about 6,000 members working in the hotel, food service and hospitality industries in San Diego and Imperial counties.