Unite Here Files Complaint Against Hotel Bargaining Group After Security Guards Rough Up Protestors at Fairmont Miramar Over the Weekend


Today, UNITE HERE Local 11 filed an unfair labor practice charge (pdf copy of the complaint available here) with the National Labor Relations Board Region 31, alleging that members of the hotel industry’s Coordinated Bargaining Group, committed and/or condoned violence against striking employees. 

The complaint follows a number of documented incidents over the past week, including an altercation on Saturday that was caught on video that appears to show security for Fairmont Miramar assaulting and detaining Unite Here picketers after the picketers marched from the Viceroy to the Miramar.. 

You can see video of the confrontation on social media by Unite Here and another angle from the AFL-CIO. The Bargaining Group includes the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Viceroy, Hampton Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Mariott and Le Merigot Hotels in Santa Monica and dozens of other hotels in Southern California.

“I feel discriminated against because I feel like the company is ordering them to treat us this way,” said German Martinez, dishwasher of 34 years at the Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica. “It’s as if we’re their enemies, not their workers. It’s our right to be protesting for a new contract and fair wages. Everything is so expensive that we are living paycheck to paycheck, and that’s not right.” 

Reaction to the video has been largely supportive of Unite Here Local 11 and has condemned the Fairmont Miramar for the actions of their security guards.

The incident at the Miramar is one of three listed in the complaint. Also on Saturday, security at the Hotel Maya Resort in Long Beach used a chain link fence to corral protestors while a guest ran around the fence and punched a worker in the head and shoved at least two others.

At the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Hotel and Spa in Dana Point, the union charges that picketing workers have been assaulted, threatened and had property destroyed.  The Union alleges that hotel security personnel looks the other way when guests confront, assault or steal from protestors and that a protestor overheard a hotel security leader tell a guest that threatened striking workers that security staff would have their back in court.

Officers with the Santa Monica Police Department also appear in the video and don’t appear to be involved in the skirmish, although members of the strike credit the department for de-escalating the situation.

“Hotel security assaulted us,” Noel Rodriguez said to Fox 11. “They assaulted the workers, they assaulted me and a bunch of other folks. And it was actually the police who stepped in and made them stop and made them respect our right to go in and picket.”

The Fairmont Miramar is an advertiser with Santa Monica Next. We reached out to them for comment, but have yet to get a response. Other than that, they were not contacted about the content of this story.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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