Home News & Features UNITE HERE Local 11 Opposes Proposed $3.5 Billion Blackstone Deal

UNITE HERE Local 11 Opposes Proposed $3.5 Billion Blackstone Deal

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LOS ANGELES—Blackstone’s planned acquisition of the single-family rental company Tricon Residential will further exacerbate the housing affordability crisis and harm tenants and workers, according to UNITE HERE Local 11, AFSCME Local 3299, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP).

As Blackstone seeks to grow as a landlord, workers at its hotel properties struggle to afford rent. Workers at the Blackstone-owned Fairfield LAX/El Segundo, Aloft LAX/El Segundo and Sheraton Phoenix went on strike last year and continue to fight for a contract that will provide living wages, affordable benefits, and adequate staffing. While 29 hotels have settled agreements that will enable workers to survive in Southern California, Blackstone’s hotels have failed to do so.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Los Angeles Metro area has increased 45 percent from $1,384 in FY 2019 to $2,006 in FY 2024. Most workers at Blackstone’s LAX hotels make $21 per hour, and would have to spend 55 percent of their pre-tax income to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

The $1 trillion private equity giant Blackstone—which is already the largest landlord in the U.S.—announced on January 19 that it planned to get even bigger by acquiring Tricon, which owns and operates 38,000 single family rental properties in the U.S, including properties in California and Arizona.

Company Investing Heavily in Residential Real Estate

Blackstone went on an aggressive buying spree in 2021 and 2022, expanding its residential real estate empire, adding over 200,000 housing units to its portfolio, including 5,800 units in the San Diego area.

Blackstone initiated a wave of evictions in 2022, and in some cases filed to evict tenants who owed just one month’s rent. ACCE released a report earlier this year with the Private Equity Stakeholder Project showing that Blackstone had raised rents in some units in San Diego between 43 percent to 64 percent in two years.

“Blackstone has a terrible track record for workers and tenants, failing to pay their workers living wages on the one hand and increasing rents with the other,” said UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen. “We urge investors and stakeholders to oppose Blackstone’s planned acquisition of Tricon unless there are protections in place for tenants and to demand Blackstone resolve fair contracts for their hotel workers.”

“My rent just increased by $150 and now I spend nearly 60 percent of my income on rent,” said Jeymmy Morales, who works as a room attendant for the Blackstone-owned Fairfield/Aloft LAX hotels. “Blackstone’s CEO made $1.3 billion in 2022, and I am living paycheck to paycheck.”

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