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Union leader says PPP loans to hotels 'never trickled down to the workers'

The leader of a hotel workers union in southern California and Arizona says the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to major hotels “never trickled down to the workers.”

Ada Briceño, the co-president of Unite Here Local 11, said Thursday on Hill.TV's "Rising" that despite hotels receiving PPP loans, members “continue to be laid off” and are 90 percent out of work a year into the pandemic.

“This Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to be to help workers right?” she said. “You help small businesses, and then you help workers. And that’s really not what happened unfortunately.”

“It’s tough,” added Briceño, whose union represents more than 32,000 hotel workers. "It’s really, really hard. So here we saw a great opportunity, and it did not end that way. They’ve used it. They applied for these small business loans, these large hotel corporations, but it never trickled down to the workers.”

Briceño said union members are majority women and people of color who are “often the folks that are caught between whether or not the next paycheck will get them into homelessness.”

Unite Here Local 11 has scrutinized PPP loans before, which required businesses to keep employees on payroll in an effort to minimize large layoffs during the pandemic.

The western union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board last year to try to get a Marriott hotel in Santa Monica to reveal how much loan money it received and how it was used, Bloomberg News reported at the time.