Sonoma Valley Sun


Workers at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn want fair shot at unionization

Posted on September 9, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun



Workers at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn presented hotel management with a petition Friday calling for an end to aggressive anti-union tactics.

The petition was signed by 133 workers, the most that have ever publicly expressed support for a fair process to decide on unionization.  According to the union, this is a sign that the hotel’s aggressive anti-union tactics have failed to stop workers’ campaign for a union.

The petition does not call for recognition of the union or an NLRB election. Rather, it calls for a fair process to decide on unionization free from intimidation or threats.

In May, an investigation by Region 20 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found evidence sufficient to prosecute 43 labor law violations at the hotel. The investigation found merit to Local 2’s allegations that hotel management had threatened workers for engaging in union activity, illegally interrogated employees about their union activities, and illegally promised benefits to workers if they rejected the union.

It follows a government investigation that found evidence sufficient to prosecute unfair labor practices at the luxury resort, where workers are organizing to join the UNITE HERE Local 2 union.

“I am fighting for the union because we want better wages, job security, a pension, and affordable insurance,” said Nelida Prudente, a lobby attendant at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. “My coworkers and I faced six months of union-busting, but we didn’t give up. The hotel’s anti-union campaign made many of us afraid to be involved with the union, but we all know that we deserve better. We ask that the hotel agree to a fair process for us to exercise our right to organize. Intimidation or other fear tactics will not stop us from doing what is best for our families.”

“Even a months-long onslaught of anti-union tactics couldn’t stop workers at the Fairmont Sonoma,” said Anand Singh, President of UNITE HERE Local 2. “Union-busting campaigns are designed to poison the well so that the workplace is too divided to ever recover support for the union, but that didn’t happen here. This petition is signed by a higher number of workers than have ever indicated support for a fair process to unionize, and their movement is only growing stronger.”

This campaign included the retention of six consultants who specialize in persuading workers not to unionize. These consultants are associated with a firm whose founder has been described as “a notorious union-buster” and who is perhaps best known for his work attempting to defeat a union campaign at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Wages at the hotel are substantially inferior to those of union workers at union Fairmont hotels in San Francisco. For example, housekeepers at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn make $21, compared to $28.10 at the Fairmont San Francisco.

The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn is owned by Brookfield Asset Management and operated by the French hospitality company Accor.

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