Union files unfair labor practice charge against LA hotel owner – Daily News

on Apr27
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A hospitality workers’ union has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Sheraton Four Points LAX hotel, alleging its owners failed to provide information the union requested regarding the decision to lay off employees and potentially close the hotel.

The workers, represented by Unite Here Local 11, were laid off en masse last year.

In December 2020 and January 2021, the union requested a range of information from the hotel’s owners, including its plans and economic situation. In an effort to ensure laid-off workers are treated fairly, Unite Here wants to know how funds the hotel received through the federal Paycheck Protection Program were utilized.

The unfair labor practice charge alleges the owners never provided the requested information. Under the federal National Labor Relations Act, employers are obligated to provide such information to unions to facilitate collective bargaining.

Attorney Kenneth Ballard, who is representing the owners, San Marino-based Rui Gao Inc. and New Wynn Li LP, said the information the union is seeking was provided early this year.

Unite Here’s filing with the National Labor Relations Board follows a similar complaint the union filed earlier this month with the U.S. Small Business Administration. That action alleged the owners may have misused federal funds that were intended to keep staff employed.

Unite Here Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen said there are still questions to be answered.

“These workers have given much of their lives to this hotel, greatly enriching its owners,” Petersen said in a statement. “They deserve to be treated with a basic level of respect. What is the company trying to hide?”

The employees recently held a protest outside the Sheraton and are urging the SBA to conduct an investigation into the nearly $4.4 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program loans that were approved for the hotel.

The owners closed the Sheraton’s doors a week after gaining approval for a second round of money.

The hotel was first approved for $2.4 million of PPP funds on April 10, 2020. But that had little impact on keeping workers on board, according to Petersen.

“They said they were going to save 234 jobs with that money, but they didn’t because there were only about 30 employees still working at the hotel from April of last year until February of this year,” he said.

The hotel filed a permanent closure Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice with the state on July 24, 2020 that became effective Sept. 24, according to the complaint filed with the SBA. That impacted 28 jobs.

On Jan. 29, 2021, the hotel received approval for a second PPP loan of $2 million that was tied to the retention of 220 jobs. But it filed a second WARN notice on Nov. 30, 2020, that became effective Feb. 5, impacting another 214 jobs.

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