For immediate release
March 29, 2010
[email protected], (510) 219-6347
Hotel forces workers to reapply for their jobs, undergo credit checks
Who: Assembly Member Tony Mendoza, Oakland City council member Rebecca Kaplan, Sharon Cornu of the Alameda Labor Council, Wei-Ling Huber of UNITE HERE Local 2850, community allies, faith leaders, and workers from the Homewood Suites
What: Press conference to help keep Homewood Suites Workers from
losing their jobs on May 1, 2010.
Where: Oakland Homewood Suites at 1103 Embarcadero.
When: Thursday, April 29 2010 from 2:00pm-2:30pm
Oakland, CA: The Homewood Suites recently announced that it will
change management companies on May 1st from Hilton Hospitality, Inc to Kupuna Hospitality, LLC. During the change-over, current hospitality
workers will have to re-apply to their jobs and undergo credit checks.
This move jeopardizes the livelihoods of 34 workers and their
families, many of whom are Oakland residents. “I’m offended that Rick
Gabrielsen wants to check my credit report. My house is being
foreclosed upon right now. Does that have anything to do with how well
I can make the breakfast for my guests?” asks Raul Peña, an 8 year
cook at the Homewood.
The decision by Kupuna to demand credit checks and reapplications is
particularly perplexing given that Rick Gabrielsen, President of
Kupuna Hospitality, was previously Area Director for Hilton and
oversaw the hiring of many of the Homewood workers who remain on the
job today. “I’ve worked at the Homewood Suites for 5 years, and I’ve
always tried to do my best. Rick Gabrielsen knows my name and my face, and he knows that I’m a hard worker,” says Sheila Jones, a room
Credit checks in employment punish those hit hardest by the economic
crisis. With record unemployment, ongoing foreclosures, wage cuts and
rising medical costs, having poor credit is a measure of life
circumstances, not whether an applicant will perform well on the job.
"A credit check is no more successful at predicting job performance
than a prospective employee’s hat size or favorite flavor of ice
cream," said Joe Ridout of Consumer Action. "And to apply this
analytical snake oil retroactively to workers who have spent years on
the job is tremendously unfair."
Assembly Member Tony Mendoza is sponsoring a bill to limit the use of
credit checks in employment in California. “A credit report is not a
good indicator of a person’s work ethic or experience. Many
Californians are experiencing difficult times due to the economic
downturn, the foreclosure crisis, and 12.5 percent unemployment. Now,
more than ever, a credit report is an unfair lens through which to
view job applicants.”
UNITE HERE Local 2850 represents over 2,500 hospitality, food service
and gaming workers throughout the East Bay. The union has represented workers at the Homewood Suites since it opened in 2001.