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NLRB Files Complaint Against Glendale Hilton

May 04, 2006|Joe Mathews | Times Staff Writer

Managers at the Glendale Hilton threatened, interrogated and conducted surveillance of the hotel's workers during a union organizing drive there last fall, according to a complaint by the National Labor Relations Board.

The complaint was issued last week by a regional office of the NLRB after a five-month investigation.

The complaint is based on two separate "unfair labor practice" charges filed in November and January against the hotel by Local 11 of Unite HERE, a union that is aggressively campaigning to organize hotel industry workers nationwide. Unite HERE made public its organizing campaign at the Glendale Hilton in September.

Kathy Shepard, a spokeswoman for Hilton Hotels Corp., declined to address the substance of the NLRB complaint. "This is a typical action that labor unions take when they're in an organizing mode," she said. Hilton's 2005 survey of its Glendale employees found more than 90% of them were satisfied with their jobs, she added.

A coalition of unions and advocacy groups that organized the recent marches for immigrant rights in Los Angeles has decided to champion the Glendale case as an example of how immigrant workers are treated.

The coalition -- which lists the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) as members -- scheduled a news conference for today to discuss the case. Many of the Glendale hotel's workers are immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

The NLRB scheduled a June 5 hearing before an administrative law judge. In NLRB cases, such judges make recommendations to the full board.

The seven-page complaint, signed by NLRB Regional Director James J. McDermott, said the Hilton's managers had videotaped employees as they protested outside the hotel, offered one employee a raise and a promotion to stay out of the union, and threatened to fire one worker who tried to bring in a cake that read: "Welcome to the Union."

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