ANCHORAGE – Following last week’s announcement that a majority of the Sheraton Anchorage employees said they no longer want to be represented by Local 878 UNITE-HERE, the hotel’s employees have received additional threats from the Union, and General Manager Denis Artiles has received another death threat.
Immediately following last week’s renouncement, in an impromptu meeting inside the hotel, Union President Marvin Jones told a dozen workers: “Those of you who sided with management will pay.” In response, the Hotel has filed another unfair labor practice charge against the union, with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Anchorage.
Subsequently, there was an attempted break-in to the office of the Hotel’s general manager, Denis Artiles. This was followed a few days later by a voice mail to Artiles, containing a taped recording of a news report that described the grisly details of a notorious double murder of an Ohio couple. In light of previous, more explicit death threats against Artiles, this voice mail appears to be a continuation of the threats. The recording has been turned over to police.
“Sheraton management and the Anchorage Police Department are taking all of these threats very seriously,” said Remington Hotel Spokeswoman Mary Villarreal. “It’s almost inconceivable that this type of behavior is occurring in Anchorage, Alaska.
Artiles has worked for Remington for three years and has extensive experience managing large and small hotels. He was brought to Anchorage in July, 2009 to bring financial and operational stability to the hotel during the tough economic times and ongoing negotiations with the Union.
“Denis has provided the tools and resources employees needed to do their jobs successfully, and created a positive work environment for employees. As a result of his efforts, guest service scores have improved dramatically, and community leaders have complimented him on the changes they have seen at the hotel,” said Villarreal. “He should be commended, and does not deserve to be fearful for his life in Anchorage. We ask Alaskans to rally behind him, and send a message that this type of behavior is not acceptable, and that those responsible for making these threats will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
The Sheraton’s labor agreement with the Union expired more than a year ago. Although the hotel was hopeful to reach a new CBA agreement, the Union’s demands for higher wages, as well as higher healthcare and pension contributions could not be agreed to in these economic times, at least not without some consideration in other areas. In the last several months, employees have grown tired of the Union’s harassment, and the boycott that ultimately hurt them and sent business to non-union hotels. Recently employees were notified that their Union pension benefits would be cut by 40 percent because of significant funding problems with the pension trust. As a result, a majority of the employees signed a petition that they no longer wish to be represented by Unite Here. UNITE HERE was officially notified of that decision last Friday.
The Sheraton Hotel & Spa has stepped up security at the hotel and asks that anyone who believes they are being harassed or threatened, to please report it to hotel management. More information on the situation is available at https://sheratonanc.wordpress.com.