For Immediate Release: National Labor Relations Board files lawsuit in federal court against Sheraton Anchorage
On December 9, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency that enforces the National Labor Relations Act, the federal labor law that governs most private-sector workers, filed a lawsuit in an Alaskan federal court against Texas-based Remington Lodging & Hospitality, the corporation that operates the Sheraton Hotel & Spa in Anchorage. The lawsuit stems from a long-running dispute between the Sheraton and its workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 878. The lawsuit will be heard by Honorable Timothy Burgess in Anchorage Federal Courtroom 1 on December 29, 2011 at 1:30pm.
In its lawsuit, the NLRB asks the court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Sheraton that would require the hotel to stop violating federal labor laws and resume recognition of, and negotiations with, Local 878. This lawsuit comes less than four months after an NLRB Administrative Law Judge concluded after a 40-day hearing that the Sheraton acted unlawfully in its campaign to break the workers’ union.
If the federal court grants the injunction, the hotel will be required to return working conditions to the standards established by the long-standing union contract at the hotel. Return to these standards will be a milestone victory for the hotel’s hourly workers. They include, among other things, the reduction of workloads for housekeepers, restoration of the pre-existing (and more affordable) union medical insurance plan and resumed participation in the union pension plan. The injunction will also compel the hotel to take numerous other steps to remedy past unlawful threats and discipline imposed by the hotel against its employees.
Since 2009, Sheraton workers have been struggling to protect their benefits, their working conditions and their union from the employer’s egregious assaults. To date, this high-profile labor dispute has been marked by the filing of over 40 unfair labor practice charges, a lengthy NLRB hearing, two meritless lawsuits filed by the hotel (one against the Union, one against the NLRB itself), an ongoing boycott, frequent picket lines and an overwhelming amount of Anchorage community support. While workers feel optimistic about the injunction and the prospect of returning to the bargaining table, they want to remind the public that their struggle is not over and that they continue to ask the community to boycott the Sheraton until the dispute is resolved.