Subject: [SocialistWorker.org] Wilshire Plaza Hotel workers
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======== WILSHIRE PLAZA HOTEL WORKERS ========================================
By Sarah Knopp and Katie Miller | January 18, 2008 | Issue 658
LOS ANGELES--Some 80 Wilshire Plaza Hotel workers, who have been working
without a union contract since December 2006, won a two-day strike this month
over unfair labor practices. Every member of the workers' union, UNITE HERE
Local 11, participated in the action, which began January 10.
The strike came in the aftermath of a three-week long hearing at the National
Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB's general counsel has alleged 45
violations against the Wilshire Plaza, including the failure to make payments
to the health and welfare funds, resulting in the loss of health coverage for
Soon after the hearing, two critical witnesses, who were subpoenaed by the
federal government to testify, experienced retaliation. Lester Salazar, a
room service waiter, saw his hours drop from 33 hours per week before the
hearing, to only 12 hours a week.
Noelia López, who has worked at Wilshire Plaza for 28 years, was
discriminated against when the hotel added to her job duties soon after the
hearing. So employees decided to teach Wilshire Plaza a lesson by walking
After two days, the employer conceded to reinstate Salazar to his full hours,
with back pay, and to drop the additional duties for López. Management also
agreed to restore laundry services for kitchen employees and provide better
food to workers.
Claiming victory, the workers returned to work but pledged to continue the
boycott against Wilshire Plaza until they win a just contract.
While this strike was technically on issues of violations of labor law,
workers' anger is at a boiling point on other issues as well.
Lineth, a long-time employee at the hotel, said, "My own wages have been
reduced from $13.00 per hour to $8.05 per hour in the last year and many of
my co-workers have seen their paychecks returned because there is apparently
no money in the hotel owners' bank accounts to pay for workers' salaries."
Wilshire Plaza Hotel has gotten a taste of what's to come if they continue to
treat workers badly. And the workers have gained a sense of their power.
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