Pacific Beach Hotel woes to be heard by U.S. board
The National Labor Relations Board has agreed to hold a formal hearing in November regarding union complaints against the owner of Pacific Beach Hotel.
The ILWU Local 142 has filed numerous charges with the board dating back to January 2007 on behalf of Pacific Beach Hotel workers against owner HTH Corp. The board has consolidated all of those charges and agreed to proceed to a hearing before an administrative law judge on Nov. 4.
It has also named HTH Corp., Pacific Beach Corp. and Koa Management LLC all as a single employer doing business as the Pacific Beach Hotel.
The union and hotel have been part of a lengthy labor dispute over its right to represent workers at Pacific Beach, which has resulted in pickets, an international boycott and the dismissal of some of the hotel's workers.
Since December 2007, says the union, Pacific Beach Hotel's management has refused to recognize the ILWU Local 142 and has summarily fired 32 employees, including most of the elected negotiating committee.
In addition, the union alleges that the hotel management arbitrarily changed working conditions and implemented house rules prohibiting workers from supporting the union.
"What the board is saying is it has investigated the unfair labor practice charges, and found it to have merit, and will take the hotel to trial and prosecute the hotel for these charges," said Dave Mori, ILWU's Oahu division director.
Pacific Beach Hotel workers had voted to join the ILWU in 2004, but the board delayed recognition of the union until August 2005 and contract negotiations didn't begin until later that year.
But Robert Minicola, regional vice president of the HTH Corp. issued a statement saying that the board had simply chosen a date to hear the complaints by the union against the hotel, but has not yet made a decision on whether the charges are true.
Pacific Beach Hotel's management has countered that the majority of its workers say they do not want to be part of the union.
On July 10, Minicola says he received a petition with the signatures of more than 200 of the hotel's 367 employees saying they did not want to join the ILWU Local 142 or any other union.
"HTH looks forward to answering each of these allegations at the NLRB hearing," he said, adding HTH Corp. will file a written response by Sept. 12 as requested by the NLRB.
Mori, ILWU's Oahu division director, however, said those employees signed the petition under duress, and that some workers were told they would lose hours if they did not sign it.
"We are supporting a boycott against the hotel because they've chosen to go above the law," said Mori.
U.S. Congressman Neil Abercrombie also issued a statement saying he was gratified that the labor board has finally acted to guarantee that the hotel would be held to accountable.