Union made wrong choice

Posted on October 31, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Editor: The Preserving Sonoma Committee was disappointed to learn of labor union Unite Here’s decision to oppose Measure B, the Hotel Limitation Measure.

Unite Here has mistakenly confused it’s own mission of increasing union membership with what’s best for Sonoma’s long-term health and quality-of-life. In opposing Measure B, the union movement has now placed itself in opposition to the majority of the citizens of Sonoma, who do not want to sacrifice our quality-of-life in exchange for promises of tax revenue from big hotels.

Rather than engaging with the many workers at existing big hotels in Sonoma like Marriott’s Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma with 182 rooms, Unite Here cut a deal with the aspiring developer of a 59-room hotel which after Measure B passes will never be built. From the developer’s standpoint it makes for a good press release. From the union’s standpoint, it gains nothing. We honestly do not understand that type of losing strategy.

Preserving Sonoma supports real living wages and good jobs; hotels under 25 rooms will provide jobs, too. We’d be happy to work with the union to suggest ways to unionize existing large hotels instead of their opposing the preservation of Sonoma’s unique charms and character. While serving on Sonoma’s City Council I helped lead the successful effort to pass the City of Sonoma’s Living Wage Agreement, and strongly support the effort to secure better wages and working conditions for hotel workers. Unite Here’s interests would be better served by getting in sync with Sonoma’s citizens instead of becoming a bargaining chip in development negotiations.

Larry Barnett
Chair, Preserving Sonoma Committee

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