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Hotel Workers at Santa Monica JW Marriott Threaten to Strike
By Niki Cervantes
January 29, 2018 -- Housekeepers at the JW Marriott Le Merigot in Santa Monica are threatening to picket, boycott and strike over allegations that the luxury beachfront hotel has been retaliating against those who supported the vote last November to join Unite Here, Local 11.
A majority of housekeepers at the beachfront Le Merigot pledged to take action in the form strikes, picket lines and boycotts after a Unite Here complaint brought federal labor law charges against the hotel, said Danielle Wilson, a Local 11 spokesperson.
She said the charges were “just issued by the Counsel for the General Counsel” of the National Labor Relations Board(NLRB).
“The issuance of the complaint by NLRB Region 31 is the first step in a legal action brought by the government against Columbia Sussex, the management company of the hotel, for their conduct,” she said.
A news conference this evening in front of the hotel is being held to discuss the union’s action plan.
“After winning the vote for the union, Columbia Sussex (which manages the hotel) managers began writing up and firing workers at the hotel,” said Danielle Wilson, a Local 11 representative.
Local 11 has filed a complaint with the NLRB, the second brought against the hotel this month.
The hotel is required by the NLRB to submit its response by February 9. A hearing date before a NRLB administrative judge is set for April 3.
A representative of Columbia Sussex was not immediately available for comment.
“Supported by the issuance of this complaint, the workers are empowered to picket and strike to fight for their jobs," Wilson said. "They are calling on the community of Santa Monica to stand in solidarity with them.”
On January 10, workers at the hotel filed claims with the California Labor Commissioner alleging thousands of dollars in lost wages and rest and meal break violations, Wilson said.
“These claims were the first in a group of cases that is expected to grow with more workers alleging similar abuses.”
Anti-union actions by management started before the vote to join United Here, Local 11, Wilson said, and continued afterward, with attempts to “bribe” housekeepers with better benefits if they didn’t become active with the union.
Management withheld Christmas bonuses, Wilson said, and took other actions to discourage union participation by Le Merigot workers. It also took disciplinary action against workers, she said.
The Hotel, Wilson said, “pressured its housekeeping employees to complete cleaning 15 rooms in a shift without providing assistance as needed” and re-assigned an employee who had been active with the union.
Le Merigot “has been interfering with, restraining, and coercing” union employees in violation of the Fair Labor Relations Act, the union complaint filed with the NLRP said.
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