For immediate release
October 5, 2009
Complaints to be heard regarding the lay-off of more than a dozen employees and visible union supporters
After the Blackstone hotel laid-off more than a dozen employees and visible union supporters, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is taking the Blackstone Hotel to trial before an administrative law judge. Despite fear and intimidation, workers are testifying against the hotel.
Workers at the Blackstone Hotel, members of UNITE HERE Local 1, the hotel workers union, religious leaders and community supporters are gathering outside the hotel this morning in support of the workers who are testifying. Afterwards workers will begin a week-long series of hearings at the NLRB.
"We are fighting for our jobs and our families," says Renee Walker, a former room service attendant at the Blackstone who was one laid off by hotel management. "My son has asthma and so it is really important that I have a good job with affordable health insurance. That is what the union is about."
Last year workers won a union and are now trying to obtain their first contract. Rather than staying neutral, the company has taken steps to impede workers’ ability to organize and collectively bargain, even going as far as to terminate more than a dozen employees and visible union supporters in recent months.
This is not the Blackstone Hotel’s first experience with the NLRB. In March of 2008, the NLRB found the hotel illegally interfered in employees’ decision about unionization by assisting a decertification campaign.
Now the NLRB’s General Counsel issued a formal complaint stating that the company violated the law by closing room service, firing workers, making changes in the insurance plan, and failing to bargain in good faith during Union Contract Negotiations.
Today the federal government will take the company to trial before an administrative law judge. Workers are standing together to ensure that those who have been unfairly targeted for their union activity will have their jobs restored.