For immediate release
February 6, 2012
On February 3, 2012, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against Remington Hospitality, the Texas based operator of the Sheraton hotel in Anchorage. This injunction comes over five months after a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge concluded that the hotel violated numerous federal labor laws in its effort to end recognition of its workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 878.
Court ordered injunctions against employers are rare and are typically issued to prevent employees from suffering irreparable harm while NLRB decisions or appeals are pending. In this case, because of the quantity and seriousness of unfair labor practices committed by the hotel, the injunction will require the Sheraton to take numerous steps to remedy past unlawful conduct against its employees. Furthermore, it will require the hotel to restore the terms and conditions of employment as they existed prior to the hotel’s unlawful declaration of impasse in past union negotiations. These terms and conditions include (but are not limited to) a reduction of workloads in the Housekeeping department, restoration of the employer-paid union medical insurance plan, recognition of the workers union and resumption of union negotiations.
"The actions of the court demonstrate that the Lord hears the cry of the oppressed for justice, so our legal system can still attend to the people’s cry for justice. [These] wealthy corporations, with their stables of well-paid lawyers, cannot defeat a people united in their demand for respect and fairness," said Pastor Glenn Peterson from Central Lutheran Church; one of many community leaders that has maintained his support of the workers throughout the last three years.
The injunction comes after three years of struggle by Sheraton workers to protect their benefits, their working conditions and their union from the employer’s egregious assaults. To date, the struggle has been marked by the filing of over 40 unfair labor practice charges against Sheraton management, a lengthy NLRB hearing, two meritless lawsuits filed by the hotel (one against the Union, one against the NLRB itself), an ongoing boycott, frequent picket lines and an overwhelming amount of Anchorage community support.
The injunction is considered by many to be a major victory and a significant step towards labor peace at the hotel, Sheraton Bellman Troy Prichacham explains, "we have been looking forward to this day for a long time; however our struggle isn’t over yet. We will continue to ask the public to boycott the Sheraton until we have secured a fair union contract."
Local 878 represents over 1,400 hospitality workers across the state of Alaska.