Striking hotel workers denounce violence on the picket lines – Daily News

on Aug8
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Hundreds of striking hotel workers picketed the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel Monday, Aug. 7 to announce the filing of an unfair labor practice charge against the Coordinated Bargaining Group, which is representing the hotels in labor negotiations.

The action, filed by Unite Here Local 11, also targets human resources directors with the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, Hotel Maya in Long Beach and Marriott Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa in Dana Point.

The filing claims those parties, along with their agents and/or supervisors have condoned violence against hotel workers in response to their union activities.

Unite Here Local 11 represents an estimated 15,000 hospitality workers at 60 Southern California hotels whose contracts expired June 30. The union cited the following incidents:

  • Saturday’s Aug. 5 march through Santa Monica to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows saw a worker tackled to the ground by hotel security as they sought to set up a picket line.
  • Another incident occurred the same day at the Maya Hotel in Long Beach where union officials claim hotel security and a manager tried to forcibly move strikers using a chain-link fence when a guest ran around the fence and punched a hotel worker in the head.
  • Hotel workers claim they have been repeatedly “assaulted, threatened and had property destroyed” at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Dana Point, which is owned by the University of California Retirement Fund and operated by Aimbridge.
  • They additionally allege John Tesar, the “celebrity chef” behind the Laguna Cliffs’ Knife Modern Steak restaurant, broke a drum held by one of the striking workers and unleashed a stream of profanities.

German Martinez, who has been a dishwasher at the Fairmont Miramar for 34 years, said he was tackled to the ground by security guards as he and coworkers were attempting to picket the hotel on Saturday.

“The hotel had barricades in front, and when they moved them to let a car in we tried to get through,” he said. “The police came and one of the security guards tried to get a union organizer arrested, but the police said they wouldn’t do that.”

Martinez said the encounter left him bruised and sore.

“I think the company is trying to see us as the enemy,” the 62-year-old Los Angeles resident said. “But we’re the ones who provide service at the hotel … and we marched peacefully.”

In a statement issued Monday, the Hotel Association of Los Angeles said union representatives are blaring sirens and alarms at odd hours and kicking over barricades that are intended to maintain safety and order.

“We’ve asked that the police take concrete steps to ensure the safety of all,” the association said. “Safety is always our number one priority.”

Pete Hillan, a spokesman for the association, said a number of the picketers are not associated with the union and have been brought in as agitators.

“What are we supposed to do?” he asked. “We don’t know who these people are.”

On Monday, hotel workers also picketed the Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hilton, Fairmont Century Plaza and Laguna Cliffs Marriott hotels.

Unite Here is seeking an immediate $5-hourly wage increase for all hotel workers. The union also wants the hotels to continue providing family healthcare coverage for employees, and it’s seeking upgrades to their pension plan as well as “humane workloads.”

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