Pacific Beach will appeal judge's ruling favoring ILWU


POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pacific Beach Hotel will appeal a ruling that ordered it to rehire workers and upheld National Labor Relations Board charges.

Earlier this month, Judge James Kennedy favored ILWU Local 142 in a ruling that addressed charges dating back to 2007. The charges stemmed from a lengthy battle between the hotel and the union over its right to represent workers.

Kennedy found that Pacific Beach Hotel bargained in bad faith, illegally interrogated employees, refused to recognize the union, fired some union supporters and threatened others.

During the hearing, HTH Corp., Pacific Beach Corp. and Koa Management LLC were treated as a single employer doing business as the Pacific Beach Hotel.

He gave the hotel 14 days to reinstate jobs for seven union negotiating committee members with back pay, reimburse the union for the cost of negotiations and bargain in good faith.

Now the hotel has alleged that Kennedy and Tom Cestare, who heads the NLRB Honolulu office, were unfairly biased and disregarded the right of Pacific Beach Hotel employees to choose whether they wanted to join the union.

Robert “;Mick”; Minicola, HTH regional vice president, said the majority of the employees signed a petition in July 2008 disavowing the ILWU, yet Kennedy denied their rights.

“;(Our employees) would have testified that the union lacked the support of a majority of the hotel employees,”; Minicola said.

Cestare's statements showed pro-union prejudice and a blatant disregard of the NLRB's role as an impartial arbiter in union-management disputes, he said.

Cestare said the judge issued a proper ruling and that the hotel misunderstood the NLRB's role.

“;We are neutral while we investigate the charges that come before us, but once a complaint is issued, we are no longer neutral. Then we are prosecutors set to achieve the goal of winning the case,”; Cestare said.

The appeal, which will take place at NLRB headquarters in Washington, D.C., delays justice, said Dave Mori, ILWU's Oahu division chief.

“;(It's) a great disappointment for the workers because it delays their right to be reinstated,”; Mori said.

ILWU wants the hotel to comply with the judge's order or settle, he said.