The ad comes from the nonprofit Center for Union Facts, which considers itself a watchdog of union leadership.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new television ad blasting a union-backed ballot measure to require all Los Angeles hotels and motels to house the homeless in unbooked rooms is stirring up controversy.
The ad comes from the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Union Facts, which considers itself a watchdog of union leadership.
It features fictional homeless people begging for change in hotel hallways and washing clothes in a hotel swimming pool while hotel guests try to avoid them. Michael Saltsman, the group's executive director, calls the ballot measure a "hare-brained idea."
"If it sounds silly in the commercial, well its even sillier and more dangerous in real life," he said. "When you turn hotels over to basically become homeless shelters, you have a lot of dangerous behavior that goes on, and hotel workers, housekeepers should not be subject to that. So candidly, I think it's shameless that the union - of all people - would be behind this."
The union he's referring to is UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents hotel workers in L.A. and gathered the signatures required to get the Los Angeles Responsible Hotel Ordinance on the March 2024 ballot.
If passed, the ordinance would require all hotels and motels within the city limits to house the homeless in rooms that are not rented out for the night. UNITE HERE leadership is lashing out at the television commercial.
"We're appalled, actually," said Kurt Petersen, the co-president of Local 11. "They dehumanize people who don't have homes and they mock them in the video."
Housing the homeless is not a new idea in L.A.
Project Roomkey, which was created during the pandemic, is credited with housing more than 10,000 individuals in 4,000 rooms at 37 hotels throughout the city and L.A. County, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Petersen says many members of his union are on the verge of landing in homeless shelters because of low hotel wages.
"Rents have gone out of control. We want the hotels to take responsibility for that," Petersen said. "Our initiative is part of that, but also paying a wage that allows people to live in Los Angles is as much of their responsibility as anything else."