Taylor Swift should ignore the hollow hysterics of Unite Here Local 11 and continue shows as normal
Author: Michael Saltsman
Publication Date: August 2023
Newspaper: Orange County Register
Thousands of spirited Swifties will descend on Los Angeles starting this weekend, for a six-night run of Taylor’s ERAS tour at SoFi Stadium. The fans will bring with them millions of dollars in needed economic activity for Inglewood and the surrounding community.
The only group unhappy about this? Self-interested hotel union Unite Here Local 11.
In a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times, the union called on Swift to postpone her show in “solidarity” with striking hotel workers. Several of the union’s elected allies have predictably chimed in, arguing that Swift should respect the union’s cause. Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis was shameless enough to join the protest, despite having just seen Swift in Santa Clara the weekend prior.
Notably missing from the list of boycott endorsers: Inglewood Mayor James Butts, not to mention the countless small businesses and disappointed fans who would lose out if Swift skipped SoFi.
The union’s demand is an unusual one: Swift herself is not in the middle of a labor dispute. Indeed, Swift made news in recent days by awarding her road crew up to $100,000 each as a personal thank you for the hard work during the tour. She’s also partnered with local charitable organizations on her tour stops, such as a food bank in Santa Clara.
It’s hard to imagine a more pro-worker perspective, and seemingly one that Los Angeles would welcome to town.
But according to Local 11’s twisted logic, Swift is obligated to reschedule because her visiting fans will be staying at LA-area hotels, including some of the hotels where workers may currently be on strike. This selfish perspective is on-brand for Local 11, which in recent weeks has made news for deliberately disrupting a wedding and 4th of July tourism to advance its goals during the strike.
Set aside for a minute the flawed argument that the entire LA economy should suffer because of labor disputes at a handful of union properties. The fault for the ongoing strike lies with union leadership, not the hotels and certainly not the excited Taylor fans coming to Los Angeles. The union has stubbornly prolonged the dispute with demands that hotels support a Los Angeles ballot measure that would require them to house the homeless alongside paying guests.
With a potential transformation of these hotels into makeshift homeless shelters, good luck getting tourists to stay there for Taylor’s next tour stop in Los Angeles.
Also on the list of demands is a new hotel tax of seven percent, which guests would pay into a trust fund controlled by the union. The union claims the money would go towards affordable housing, but the language of the fund gives it broad latitude to spend the money on “other efforts” as well.
As of this writing, Swift seems poised to ignore the union’s unreasonable demands, picking the local economy and thousands of fans over the tantrums of Kurt Peterson and his cronies at Local 11. The tour dates will no doubt be a success, and should also serve as a lesson to other celebrities and politicians who face a Local 11 call for a boycott: There’s no harm in shaking off the unreasonable demands of Los Angeles labor unions.