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Exceptions Brief – PDF

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On August 25, 2011, the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to hear evidence in the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) hearing between the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa (“Hotel”) and its former union has issued his “recommendations” for a decision that will be made by the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. Hearings were held between August 2010 and January 2011.

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This is a copy of an October 2010 survey of more than 700 private and government union employees.

Union Member Survey – Nov 2010

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 Anchorage – The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa (the “Hotel”) has asked a federal court judge to compel the National Labor Relations Board (the NLRB”) to do its job and fairly investigate the labor dispute between the Hotel and Local 878 Unite HERE (the “Union”).

The petition, filed in federal district court in Anchorage on September 23rd, describes what the Hotel believes is unfair treatment by the NLRB, as well as favoritism shown by the NLRB to the Union.  The Hotel cites the fact that all of the Union’s charges against the Hotel have been expeditiously investigated and sent to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge while the Hotel’s charges against the Union have been dropped, suspended or kept under investigation for months on end.

“The rights of the Hotel are being damaged by the Board’s one-sided investigations,” said Mary Villarreal, spokesperson for the Hotel’s management company.  “We simply want a fair investigation and a fair hearing.”

The Hotel’s lawsuit asks the federal Judge to order the Regional Director of the NLRB in Seattle to investigate the Hotel’s charges against the Union, drop charges that have already been resolved, and hold a free and fair election among the employees to determine if they want to be represented by a Union, or not.

On October 21st, the Hotel will argue to federal district court Judge Timothy Burgess that the Board could easily avoid the scheduled ten-week long hearings now being held about the Union’s allegations by simply giving the Hotel associates a chance to vote on whether they want to have a Union at all.

“A majority of the Hotel associates have signed a petition stating that they no longer want to be represented by the Union,” said Villarreal.  “It is the associates who have a right to choose in this matter—not management and not the Union.  Let’s listen to what they want.”

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Anchorage – The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa (the “Hotel”) has filed a lawsuit against Unite HERE, Local 878 (the “Union”). The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Anchorage on September 23rd, seeks damages against the Union for interfering with the Hotel’s existing and prospective business relations and for defamation.  In the filing, the Hotel documents the loss of more than $600,000 in revenue from groups cancelling meetings due to the Union’s alleged unlawful conduct.

“It is sad and unfortunate that the Union takes actions that are so clearly detrimental to the very workers they claim to represent,“ said Mary Villarreal, spokesperson for the Hotel’s management company.

“We believe the Union went well beyond a typical boycott by harassing and intimidating scheduled guests of the Hotel,” further commented Villarreal.  “We intend to hold the Union accountable for the business the Hotel has lost.“

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ANCHORAGE – Employees at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa are taking their fight to no longer be represented by the Union to a new level. Last week, a Sheraton employee filed a decertification petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of a majority of hotel employees. That filing asks the NLRB to hold an official, secret ballot election whereby the Sheraton employees would have the opportunity to vote to no longer be represented byUNITE HERE, Local 878.

In another significant development, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund (NRTWLF), a nonprofit charitable organization that provides free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by abuses of compulsory unionism, has come to the defense of the Sheraton employees and filed a motion to intervene in the NLRB proceedings.

The NRTWLF is not affiliated with the Sheraton, the Union, or the government – it is a completely independent organization dedicated to representing the interests of its clients.  The NRTWLF now formally represents the Sheraton employee that filed the decertification petition so that views of the majority of Sheraton employees can be represented during the upcoming NLRB hearings. Since 1968, the NRTWLF has helped employees with issues like compulsory union membership or dues payments, union violence against workers, forced union dues used for politics, de-authorization elections and abuses of exclusive hiring halls. The organization has represented employees from all over the country in high-profile cases, including 14 cases that have made it to the United States Supreme Court.  Learn more about the NRTWLF at http://www.nrtw.com.

For more information and updates from the Sheraton Anchorage, visit https://sheratonanc.wordpress.com..

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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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