April 24, 2024

The Critics Choice Awards is moving back to Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar for its January 14 ceremony, rather than risk asking its nominees, presenters and attendees to cross a picket line at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel. The Fairmont is one of more than 50 hotels in Southern California that are currently involved in a labor dispute with Unite Here Local 11.

“We regret that a labor dispute has made it impossible for the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards show to be held at the Fairmont Century Plaza, where it has enjoyed great success for the past two years,” said Joey Berlin, CCA CEO. “But we are happy to be able to return to The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, where our show has also enjoyed great success through the years. For viewers at home, it will be the same exact show – and we’ll now be able to seat even more of our members who fly in from all over to enjoy the evening with the hundreds of stars in the room that night.”

The Critics Choice Awards had recently made the Fairmont Century Plaza its awards home base, having helped re-open the recently renovated hotel with its awards ceremony in 2022. The show returned there for its 2023 ceremony as well. (The Critics Choice ceremony landed at the Fairmont Century Plaza after it first tried to make a play for the Beverly Hilton — long the home of the Golden Globes — in 2022, the year that kudocast went untelevised.)

But with the Fairmont Century Plaza at the center of the labor dispute, the Critics Choice org was able to secure the Barker Hangar (where the Critics Choice Awards were held in 2013, 2014, and between 2016-2021) as a backup.

Earlier this fall, the Unite Here Local 11 launched an awareness campaign to pressure upcoming awards ceremonies currently set to be held at the Fairmont Century Plaza, the Beverly Hilton and the InterContinental Downtown LA. The union hopes to convince those high-profile events to switch venues in the midst of the ongoing labor dispute, and was successful with the Beverly Hilton — which recently struck a new contract with labor, just days before the Golden Globes announced its nominations at the hotel on Dec. 11.

The Critics Choice Association recently held its Celebration of Cinema and Television: Honoring Black, Latino and AAPI Achievements on Dec. 4 at the Fairmont Century Plaza despite the labor dispute.

Other events on the Unite Here Local 11 list include the Pollstar Awards (Feb. 7) at the Fairmont Century Plaza; and the Art Directors Guild Awards (Feb. 10) and CAS Awards (March 2) at the InterContinental DTLA (Feb. 10). The Producers Guild’s PGA Awards (Feb. 25), originally slated for the Fairmont Century Plaza, is expected to announce a new venue shortly.

Here was the Unite Here Local 11 messaging earlier this fall, prior to the deal with the Beverly Hilton:

Hotel workers across Southern California first began walking out during the July 4 weekend, asking for an improvement in cost of living wages, better pension plans, affordable healthcare and humane workloads. Unite Here Local 11 says the movement has become the largest multi-hotel strike in California history.

As part of the labor unrest, Unite Here Labor 11 has successfully convinced other groups to cancel or relocate their events to non-struck hotels or venues. Among those that have refused to hold their events at struck hotels: The Democratic Governors Association, Japanese American Citizens League and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The MLS Players Association and Inter Miami, including famed player Lionel Messi, made headlines in September by switching hotels due to striking workers.

During the recent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, many Unite Here Local 11 hotel workers joined writers and actors outside studios on picket lines — and some WGA and SAG-AFTRA members returned the favor as hotel workers picketed their employers. That spirit of solidarity is expected to spill into awards season, and it’s unclear how many writers and actors would be willing to walk past protesting hotel workers.

“Our dispute is with the InterContinental DTLA, Fairmont Century Plaza, and other hotels,” Unite Here Local 11 says on its website. “We have no dispute with the awards ceremonies or their employers. We do not intend for anyone to stop pickups, making deliveries, or performing services, except at the hotels with which we have labor disputes.”

Besides the Beverly Hilton, the United Here Local 11 has also successfully negotiated new contracts at the Le Merigot Santa Monica, the Laguna Cliffs Marriott, Loews Hollywood, the Biltmore Los Angeles and the Westin Bonaventure in downtown L.A.

The National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences’ Daytime Emmys and Children’s & Family Emmys were held last weekend at the Westin Bonaventure, which was clear of any labor strife sincean agreement with that hotel’s workers had been reached.



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