December, 1997

Hotel Workers Say Vote Against Union Was Coerced

NEWS IN BRIEF / A summary of developments across Los Angeles County
Community News File: Santa Monica

Los Angeles Times
Home Edition Metro Part B Page 4 Metro Desk

Wednesday December 17, 1997

(see correction following)

At a hearing called by their newly decertified union, workers from a luxury Santa Monica hotel complained that they had been intimidated by hotel management before the October decertification election.

Employees of the Miramar Sheraton Hotel voted 120-108 against maintaining Local 814 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees as their bargaining representative. The Miramar Sheraton is the only unionized hotel in Santa Monica.

Most of the dozen speakers at Monday's meeting identified themselves as members of the union's organizing committee. They said hotel management required them to attend meetings where anti-union views were presented, implied that workers would lose their jobs if they supported the union, and monitored the activities of union supporters.

Gail Escobar, a member of the organizing committee who is a server in the hotel dining room, said supervisors at the hotel practiced "psychological warfare" to scare workers and pressure them not to vote for the union.

Miramar Sheraton management was not represented at the meeting,
although union organizers said representatives from the hotel had been invited three weeks in advance.

Hotel general manager Bill Worcester said Tuesday that management chose not to attend because the format of the meeting appeared to preclude the hotel from questioning workers about their testimony. He denied claims that management set out to intimidate employees.

"It was the union that was scaring people," he said. "That's why we started having meetings with our employees. Regardless of what people say, we didn't have all-night meetings and we didn't barricade people in.

We just told our employees the truth."

- start of correction -

For the Record

Los Angeles Times Thursday December 18, 1997

Home Edition Metro Part B Page 4 Metro Desk


Hotel workers--Because of an editing error, a story in Wednesday's Times incorrectly described the sponsorship of a meeting at which union members criticized management of the Miramar Sheraton Hotel in Santa Monica. The meeting was sponsored by Santa Monica City Council members Mike Feinstein, Ken Genser and Paul Rosenstein and organized by a group called Santa Monicans Allied for Responsible Tourism, which supports union representation at the Miramar.




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