For immediate release
August 8, 2007
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, UNITE HERE Local 11 warned future buyers of the Radisson Hotel LAX to be aware of their obligations under the Los Angeles Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance, which requires them to retain the existing workforce. It could also make them liable for the reinstatement and post-sale backpay of up to 10 workers fired by the current owner, Pacifica Host Hotels, if an arbitrator agrees with Local 11 that they were wrongfully terminated for their union activities. An arbitrator has already mandated reinstatement and backpay for one of the ten workers.
The Los Angeles City Council passed the Hotel Worker Retention Ordinance, covering 13 hotels along Century Boulevard near the airport, in response to mass firings that occurred when the Radisson Hotel LAX changed owners in October 2000. Pacifica bought the hotel (then flagged as a Wyndham) and closed it, putting 214 employees out of work. The hotel reopened as the Radisson Hotel LAX in June 2001 but did not hire all of the former Wyndham workers, even though 110 of them submitted applications.
The historic Worker Retention Ordinance will be put to the test for the first time when the Radisson Hotel LAX changes hands this year. The sale of the property will be closely watched as a test case of the Ordinance by elected officials like Councilmember Janice Hahn, who chairs the City’s Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee.
"The City Council approved the Worker Retention Ordinance for Century Boulevard to ensure that what happened at the Radisson Hotel LAX in 2000 would never happen again. Now that the Radisson is set to again change hands, I will be paying close attention to make sure that the new buyer complies with the new ordinance," said Councilmember Hahn.
The Radisson’s future owner, in addition to retaining the current workforce, may also be forced to reinstate up to 10 workers who Local 11 believes were fired because of their union activities, during the six-year labor dispute that continues at the hotel. Any future buyer could be required to reinstate these employees if an arbitrator determines that they were wrongfully terminated, and possibly liable for backpay that accrues after the sale.
An arbitrator ruled on April 23rd, 2007 that one of the workers, Marco Cordon, was wrongfully terminated and ordered the hotel to reinstate him if he desired, and to compensate him for wages and benefits lost between his termination and reinstatement, less any interim outside earnings. The Radisson hotel has not complied with the decision to date. If the current owner continues to violate the award, the union will be forced to sue to confirm the award.
The Union has requested arbitration for another 9 union supporters who it believes were terminated for supporting the union.
UNITE HERE Local 11 represents over 10,000 hotel, food service, laundry, airport and stadium workers in the Los Angeles area. Local 11 has been assisting the Radisson Hotel LAX’s non-managerial employees to organize for over 6 years.