California Politicians Ask T. Swift To Postpone Shows In Solidarity With Union Strike

Via the CityLab newsletter, Politico recently reported that the Lt. Governor of California, Eleni Kounalakis, was among a number of politicians calling upon Taylor Swift to postpone her shows in Los Angeles to stand in solidarity with hotel workers who are striking for better pay and working conditions.

In the open letter to Swift, Kounalakis and the others wrote that the tour makes area hotels lots of money — with Los Angeles area businesses “doubling and tripling what they charge because you are coming.”

At the same time, the group wrote, many hotel housekeepers and other workers in the region can’t afford to live close to their jobs and some sleep in their cars and risk losing their homes.

“Hotel workers are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for a living wage. They have gone on strike. Now, they are asking for your support,” they wrote. “Speak Now! Stand with hotel workers and postpone your concerts.”

I have a lot of mixed thoughts about this just in terms of how responsive politicians are when the arts and culture sector lobbies for their support. How big and influential you need to be for politicians to pay attention to you. I also wonder how serious the politicians may be in making this request. Are they just posturing to make political points or are they really resolved to bear the consequences if Swift does decide to postpone the shows, potentially raising the ire of fans, but also other workers and companies that stand to benefit economically from the concerts. Apparently the tour has been paying out bonuses to the tour crew.

I am not saying that the striking hotel workers aren’t worthy of support.  It would definitely have a huge impact on behalf of the union and draw attention to their cause. It just feels like a cynical attempt to score points given that it is pretty safe bet that the shows will go on regardless of how loudly they request their postponement.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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