Embassy Suites Irvine Workers Strike Against New Management Company

Categories: Labor
Embassy Suites Irvine
Striking hotel workers at the non-union Embassy Suites Irvine walked off the job today and are taking their two-year long labor dispute to Pasadena.

The Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, which held its monthly board meeting there this morning, is a dominant investor in the ownership fund of the Embassy Suites. In solidarity with strikers, SEIU 721 members, as pension beneficiaries, are speaking out.

New troubles began earlier this month when Embassy Suites Irvine administrators Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers hired a new management company Hostmark that only added to existing grievances over poor working conditions, increasing health insurance costs and low wages.

The latest spat involves hotel workers daring to wear union buttons. A charge filed by UNITE HERE Local 11 with the National Labor Relations Board alleges that employees who did so were threatened with termination if they did not remove them--a violation of federal labor law.

Courtesy of UNITE HERE Local 11
Irvine workers at LACERA meeting proudly wearing their buttons

"I have worn my button to demonstrate support for a union for two years," says David Williamson, a longtime janitor, in a press statement. "In the past 10 days, I've been disciplined five times by managers telling me to take it off or I'll be fired."  Forty disciplinary notices overall have been issued in that same time frame.

The previous managers, HEI Hospitality, were dinged for violating state labor laws in denying full-time employees break periods last year as back wages and penalties were levied against them. The new company is off to a bad start with aggressive tactics that seem to be ensuring that worker-called boycott of Embassy Suites Irvine won't end anytime soon.

UNITE HERE Local 11 estimates that the boycott has cost the hotel at least $2.1 million in revenues. Who knew that mistreating workers could be so expensive?

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JBinOC topcommenter

There was a Groupon earlier this month for the Embassy Suites in Irvine. 

Now I know why.....

20ftjesus topcommenter

"Poor working conditions"?  At the Embassy Suites?  Don't be silly.  Working in A/C all day hardly counts as poor working conditions.


I know some beautiful, leggy blonde girls from the Ukraine that would love the opportunity to work in beautiful SoCal at half the wages these guys are getting.

JBinOC topcommenter

 @20ftjesus I am going to disagree with you.  While working inside a 3-star hotel is not exactly picking fruit off the vine in the blazing sun, poor working conditions exist everywhere.  The fact that the suits in charge denied break periods speaks volumes about what it might be like in the back of the house. 

BillxT topcommenter

 @JBinOC  @20ftjesus

 True,  it's not harvesting lettuce in 114 degree weather, but then, there are poor conditions and there are poor conditions.


Where are the trolls out there pointing out how communist it is for folks to stick up for themselves? I've even been told that it's "communist" to expect fair pay for fair work. No folks, communist (actually a misnomer, I won't go there) is "we pretend to work, they pretend to pay us".


 @BillxT  @JBinOC  @20ftjesus What's funny to me is how so-called 'progressive' 'labor supporters' continually support open-borders immigration policy. They didn't seem to care when Anglo construction workers were having wages lowered and, eventually, being put out of work by Mexicans. And after all, the continual supply of cheap immigrant labor is one of the reasons why employers can get away with low wages and 'bad' working conditions. In a tight labor market they would have to treat workers decently and pay them well, or the workers would walk to better jobs.

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