Hotel settles with the National Labor Relations Board
By Chad Winthrop
Last week, the J.W. Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot hotel signed a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board in which it agreed to pay over $35,000 in bonuses the company withheld from workers in 2016, to rescind seven disciplines issued to employees and to offer reinstatement to a worker who was fired.
Although the company has not admitted wrongdoing, the agreement would resolve 11 unfair labor practice cases. The cases, which were set for hearing less than two weeks later, involved alleged unlawful conduct by hotel management spanning from late 2016 to mid-2018. The settlement is subject to approval by the Regional Director of Region 31 of the National Labor Relations Board. Under settlement terms 21 employees would receive between $600 and $2,000.
The agreement contains a total of two dozen specific commitments related to the hotel’s compliance with laws protecting workers’ right to organize. For example, part of a notice that management will be required to post inside the hotel states: “WE WILL NOT discipline you or reduce your scheduled work hours because of your union membership or support or for engaging in other protected concerted activities, including discussing your concerns about wages, hours and working conditions with your coworkers.”
In November 2017, a majority of housekeeping department employees at Le Merigot voted to unionize with UNITE HERE Local 11. Nearly two years later, the hotel still has not signed a contract with Local 11, despite the union’s position that the parties have already reached an agreement.
“We’re thrilled to be finally receiving money that should have been paid to us over two years ago,” said Aurelia Gonzalez, a housekeeper at the hotel for 18 years. “We hope that the company will take the next step of signing the collective bargaining agreement and respecting our voices on the job.”