|Non-Union Hotel Workers Strike at Hotel Owned by LA County Employee Pension Fund|
Striking workers and pension beneficiaries attend LACERA board meeting in Pasadena; Call on pension board to fix labor problems at Embassy Suites Hotel.
IRVINE & PASADENA – Workers at the non-union Embassy Suites Irvine, a hotel owned by the Los Angeles County Employee Pension Fund (LACERA), walked off the job today, September 12, and took their concerns to the LACERA board meeting seeking a resolution to two-year long labor dispute.
The simmering labor dispute erupted on Sept. 1 when LACERA’s fund management firm, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, brought in a new hotel management company that disciplined workers repeatedly and threatened them with termination for wearing union buttons, a right protected under federal labor law.
Managers have issued 40 disciplinary notices in 10 days. UNITE HERE Local 11 filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging a violation of workers’ rights.
On Wednesday, striking workers travelled to LACERA’s monthly board meeting in Pasadena, to talk about the on-going problems at the hotel.
“I have worn my button to demonstrate support for a union for two years. In the past 10 days, I’ve been disciplined five times by managers telling me to take it off or I’ll be fired,” said David Williamson, a janitor who has worked at the Embassy Suites Irvine for 14 years.
For Williamson and his co-workers, the union button is a symbol of positive change that could come to their hotel if they were able to organize a union.
“My wife has lymphoma, a blood cancer, and glaucoma," Williamson said. "I need insurance for my family, but at $500 a month, there is no way I can afford it on my wage.”
The Embassy Suites Irvine has already lost revenue due to the boycott. Customers representing an estimated $2.1 million per year have moved their business elsewhere.