For immediate release
July 20, 2023
Workers Describe Mistreatment at Two U.S. Hotels in Meetings with Accor CEO, French Politicians, Local Hotel Workers, and More
PARIS – Accor hotel workers from two U.S. hotels traveled to Paris this week to describe disrespect, intimidation, and other problems with working conditions they have experienced at their hotels.
Employees at two hotels operated by the French hotel giant Accor – the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in California’s Wine Country and the Sofitel Washington DC – are organizing to join the UNITE HERE union because they want good jobs, safety, and respect. They are demanding a fair process to decide on unionization free from intimidation, threats, or bribes.
The American workers met with Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin and presented to French Accor employees who are gathered in Paris for the annual European Works Council. They also met with French politicians and the National Contact Point for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Images (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Photos from the trip are available for secure download here.
“We went to Paris to speak with the Accor CEO face-to-face because we’ve tried to resolve this labor dispute here in the U.S., but the people in power are not listening to us,” said Ale Santoyo, a spa worker at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. “I hope that once he hears directly from his own workers about how Accor managers have acted in the U.S., he will agree to give us a fair process to organize our union without intimidation or bribes.”
Since the Accor workers announced their intent to organize, the Sofitel Washington DC has held mandatory anti-union meetings and threatened to change the schedule of an employee who is leading the union organizing effort.
At the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, a recent investigation by Region 20 of the U.S. Government National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found evidence sufficient to prosecute 43 labor law violations, including evidence 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. 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.
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square are currently owned by Brookfield Asset Management and operated by Accor.