- A TikToker said a hotel workers protest “ruined” her sister’s wedding and is asking for a “full refund at minimum.”
- The rally was part of an ongoing movement by hotel workers for “a fair contract,” a union rep told Insider.
- A hotel spokesperson said the venue offered an alternative location and complimentary bar service.
A TikToker has gone viral for a series of posts about a hotel workers strike that “ruined” her sister’s wedding at a DoubleTree by Hilton location in San Pedro, California. Commenters are fuming on the newlyweds’ behalf and demanding that the hotel make things right.
The series of five TikToks, which were first shared on Monday, have collectively accrued upwards of 2 million views. The TikTok account @televisionofnomads, which belongs to travel duo Ben Juster and Lauren West, the bride’s sister – identified the protesters as part of the Local 11 Chapter of Unite Here.
Unite Here comprises 300,000 members in the hospitality industry across the US and Canada, with its Local 11 section making up staff at hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California and Arizona, according to its website.
Maria Hernandez, a rep for Unite Here Local 11, told Insider that protesters at the DoubleTree “were on strike fighting for a fair contract with livable wages, pension, healthcare and safer workloads.” Thousands of hotel workers across LA and southern California have gone on strike beginning July 2 amid pay and benefits disputes, and the movement has subsequently grown to include additional cities and venues.
“The hotel should have alerted the guests of the ongoing labor dispute,” Hernandez added.
In several of @televisionofnomad’s videos, drumming can be heard, as well as protesters marching with picket signs and megaphones. In another video set indoors, during what appears to be the ceremony, clamor from the protests persists, disrupting what appears to be a vow exchange and a moment of silence for the deceased.
West told Insider via Instagram DM that the hotel was “negligent about informing my sister about the strike, even though they knew a strike was imminent.” She also said that hotel contacts were “largely unresponsive and evasive” the day of the event, and believes that the hotel owes the newlyweds “a full refund at minimum.”
West noted the family learned of the strike an hour before arriving on site — and from a member of their wedding party. She said that the protests moved from the lobby of the hotel to the wedding venue “with the sole purpose of targeting the wedding.”
After her sister decided to move the ceremony indoors, protesters proceeded to surround the building of the ceremony. Noise from the protests escalated to the point that “the ceremony was disrupted and mostly inaudible,” with no assistance from hotel reps, West noted.
“It’s disheartening that such a significant event in our lives was marred by a situation that could have been averted through proper communication,” West wrote, noting that children in the wedding party were scared and crying. “The couple will forever look back on this day with sorrow as their important day was forever ruined.”
When reached, a rep for Hilton told Insider that the DoubleTree in San Pedro is a franchised location.
A spokesperson for the hotel told Insider that it offered “options to the wedding party” to work around the protest.
“Upon learning of a potential disruption near our hotel that day, we immediately took steps to present options to the wedding party, including offering up an alternate on-site location away from the outside area, so their special day could continue without a hitch,” they said in an email statement.
The spokesperson continued that the hotel also “provided complimentary perks and rewards, such as bar service,” and said “the bride and groom shared that they were appreciative of the solutions provided.”
West vehemently denies the hotel’s account of events: “They did not immediately take steps. We had to repeatedly reach out to management,” she said.
“The fact is, she should’ve never been put in this scenario. Doubletree Hilton failed to notify the bride in advance of imminent strike, which Hilton was fully aware of.”
The hotel said it did not have advanced notice of the strike and that it remains open to communicating with the bride and her family to resolve the issue.
Nevertheless, commenters fumed at the hotel on the couple’s behalf, while many also showed solidarity with Unite Here strike.
“The fact that they didn’t tell you or discount you, I’d be out there the next day holding a sign,” one commenter wrote. “Power to the workers!” another added.
“They need to be paid well and respected at work – to which @televisionofnomads replied, “Yes they do.”