Anchorage — Associates at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa (the “Sheraton”) say Unite Here’s rally a few weeks ago has only reinforced their decision to be free from the local union, Local 878 Unite-HERE (the “Union”). Union supporters, led by the international president of the AFL-CIO, staged yet another rally against the Sheraton on August 26th, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Sheraton associates signed a petition over two months ago expressing their desire to no longer be represented by the union.
“The union’s tactics of publicity stunts, distorting the facts and trying to strong-arm Sheraton associates is growing old,” said Mary Villarreal, a spokesperson for Remington Hotels, the management company for the Sheraton. “In increasing numbers, associates are voicing their displeasure to us regarding the leadership and inappropriate tactics of the Union.”
Sheraton associates have made the following comments regarding their decision to sign the petition:
“I was concerned about the union saying that this is a fight against capitalism.” Kitchen Associate
“I am tired of being harassed on my lunch hour every day by the union” and tired of seeing my hotel being boycotted.” – Housekeeping Associate
“I believe employees should get hours, promotion and overall work according to performance—not how long they have worked.” Banquet Associate
“I was threatened that if I were to sign against the Union that the Union would win and I would lose my job.” Restaurant Associate
“No clear explanation on our missing pension fund.” Maintenance Associate
In news reports about the rally, Union spokespeople claimed that they are fighting for good jobs, health care and respect. But once again, Union rhetoric and facts do not match up:
Good Jobs: The Union continues to boycott the Sheraton. This has resulted in cutbacks in current associate hours. If the Union is really interested in jobs, it would not be discouraging business at the Hotel, let alone diverting business to non-union hotels. If the Union is truly interested in good jobs, it would not be harassing the hotel’s management and telling them to leave Anchorage.
Health Care and Retirement: Not only is the current health care plan more comprehensive than the Union’s plan, associates pay no more than they were paying before. Additionally, associates now have access to dental and vision coverage as well as a 401(k) plan.
Respect: Sheraton associates have asked the Union to respect their wishes. A majority of them have signed a petition saying they no longer want to be represented by the Union, yet the Union refuses to acknowledge their wishes. While the Union claims at every rally that many Sheraton associates are participating in their rallies and marches, the truth is that a small percentage of associates participate. At the last rally, only a handful of Sheraton associates were present.
Other misstatements: A Union spokesperson told local media last week that Remington Hotels is a huge outside corporation that owns more than 700 hotels. Remington owns no hotels, and manages 48 hotels nationwide. Once again, the Union makes statements without checking the facts.
“At a time when many Alaska hotels and other businesses, including ours, are struggling with a flat economy and lower tourism numbers, you would think that people would be doing everything they could to encourage business in Anchorage,” said Villarreal. “It’s discouraging that the Union continues to display hateful behavior and to try to keep our associates, who need their jobs, from working in Anchorage.”
Denis Artiles, the Sheraton’s General Manager said, “This is not about Remington or the Union. It is about what our associates want, and they have a right to choose to be represented by the Union or not. We respect their right to choose and wish the Union would acknowledge and respect their right as well.”
The first in a series of hearings in front of the National Labor Relations Board, where many of the issues at dispute between the hotel and union are expected to be decided, was held a few weeks ago. The next hearing is scheduled for September 21 – 30. Sheraton management remains confident that the hotel will prevail in proving it has done nothing wrong, and that the associates’ wishes to go non-union should be respected.
Learn more at https://sheratonanc.wordpress.com
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