Restaurant workers wanted to unionize at this L.A. hotel. Now the restaurants are closing

Eight days after restaurant workers at a hip downtown hotel filed cards to organize a union, the hotel’s food operator declared it would shutter the dining establishments that employed them, the latest in a string of showdowns and confrontations between workers and employers in L.A. area restaurants.

The case is playing out at the Hotel Figueroa in downtown, home of Sparrow Italia, Cafe Fig, Bar Magnolia, the Cafeteria and La Casita at Driftwood. The historic building has for the last two decades built a following for its Mediterranean-inspired space and stylish dining rooms, but behind closed doors, tension has loomed between the third-party management company behind the restaurants, called Noble 33, and the estimated 100 food and beverage workers who run them.