Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis, Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O’Day, and Councilman Kevin McKeown welcomed City of Phoenix Councilwoman Betty Guardado and City of Providence Councilwoman Carmen Castillo to Santa Monica on Thursday for a panel and screening of the new feature film Councilwoman.

Councilwoman is a documentary that follows hotel housekeeper Carmen Castillo as she wins a city council seat in Providence, RI. The screening event highlighted current advocacy by hotel workers in Santa Monica to win legislation to guarantee them panic buttons to protect against the risk of sexual assault or other threatening conduct, fair compensation for heavy workloads, job security, and training.

Hotel housekeepers across the country have been asking for similar protections and winning panic buttons and fair compensation, most recently in Oakland and Long Beach.

“Santa Monica is a city that prides itself on empowering its residents and workers,” said Mayor Davis as she welcomed housekeepers-turned-councilwomen Betty Guardado and Carmen Castillo. “Empowering women in the hotel industry is key to building a better society.”

“As elected officials we have a duty to listen to our worker community and constituents,” said star of the film and Providence Councilwoman Carmen Castillo as she addressed the audience at St. Monica’s Catholic Church. “Our duty is to them, and no one else.”

“Housekeepers like us deserve a seat at the table,” said Phoenix Councilwoman Betty Guardado. The Santa Monica City Council, which has historically led the region in progressive, pro-worker policy-making, is set to vote on a comprehensive “Hotel Housekeepers’ Bill of Rights” next week.

“Being a housekeeper is a decent job, sometimes hard, but honorable and dignified,” said Aurelia Gonzales, a hotel housekeeper in Santa Monica. “Housekeepers like me deserve better, and that is why I am fighting for this policy.”

The Santa Monica screening was hosted by CLUE, Santa Monica Democratic Club, LAANE, Hollywood NOW, and Unite Here Local 11. Councilwoman will premiere nationally on PBS on September 3.

Submitted by Maria Hernandez, Unite Here Local 11

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