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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..

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

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.

ANCHORAGE – The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa announced today that a majority of its employees no longer wish to be represented by Local 878 UNITE HERE. The employees have spoken, and in accordance with their wishes, the Sheraton will be required to stop deducting union dues, and will no longer be able to pay into the union pension fund on behalf of its employees, effective immediately. In light of this new development, by law the hotel cannot legally recognize or bargain with the Union.

“We have attempted to negotiate a labor agreement with the union in good faith for more than a year now,” said Mary Villarreal, an advisor to Remington with regard to the Sheraton negotiations. “We have deducted union dues and paid into the health and welfare and pension funds for the respective union trusts, and have held ourselves out as a union hotel.  However, it has become clear that our employees are tired of the Union’s boycott, their shameless threats against its members, as well as against our clients.  This has impacted our employees financially.”

Several employees indicated that they were threatened by the Union with their livelihood in Anchorage if the Union found that they had signed anything against the Union. Villarreal stated further: “The Union’s tactics of threatening, intimidating and harassing people just don’t work on the independently minded citizens of Anchorage who can see through these actions for what they really are.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) may not care about these things, but our employees do!”

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ANCHORAGE — The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa has filed a complaint with the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after General Manager Denis Artiles received death threats over a four-hour period on June 2nd. Eggs were thrown on Artiles’ door, and then he received numerous death threat phone calls between approximately 1:30 and 5 a.m. on Wednesday. This is the second time Artiles has received death threats, the first time was in March this year. Both incidents have been reported to the Anchorage Police Department.

Also last week, the Sheraton lost a key contract when the Louisiana Center for Women & Government cancelled its National Leadership Summit that was scheduled to be held at the hotel June 3-5. The meeting moved to the Anchorage Downtown Marriott (a non-union hotel) after event organizers wrote a letter to the Sheraton stating that  “panelists/speakers and attendees received threatening phone calls from the labor union coordinator on May 25…”

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