Mold photo courtesy of EPA

Alaska OSHA Inspectors Scrutinize Worker Exposure to Mold at Anchorage Hilton

Citing health concerns, workers turn to state regulator to assure the Hotel provides them proper training and equipment

The Hilton Anchorage Hotel was the site of an inspection on Monday June 23 by the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Department (AKOSH) to investigate a complaint by Hilton workers who allege that they have been exposed to mold at the Hotel without adequate training and protective equipment. 

On April 4, 2014, the Hilton identified three strains of mold in three out-of-service guest rooms:  aspergillus/penicillium; chaetomium; and ulocladium.  All three grow on materials such as damp sheetrock and wallboard.  Leaking pipes was identified as the source of the moisture. 

During the spring, the Hilton conducted air sampling on various guest rooms.  On April 1, the Hilton found that one room had a total mold spore/fragment count of 3,800 per cubic meter.  On April 25, the Hilton found that a different room had a total mold spore/fragment count of 1,800 per cubic meter.  Both of these rooms were closed to the public while the mold was being remediated. 

Some workers have reported to management allergy-like and other symptoms that they are concerned are a consequence of exposure to mold in areas where they work.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that:  “Some people are sensitive to molds.  For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation.  Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions.”   

Workers want AKOSH to ensure that they are not exposed to unsafe conditions and that they receive adequate protective equipment and training when they work around mold.  On April 15, UNITE HERE Local 878 requested the Hilton to describe all training and protective equipment that the Hotel has provided to these employees, but the Hotel did not provide that information. 

On April 25, Hilton reported that it had found 29 rooms with “possible mold issues” and on May 6, it reported that 48 rooms had the “possibility of water damage,” which it reported it had either repaired or was working on as of that time.  The Hotel has implemented what it calls “an aggressive preventative maintenance program for all guest rooms to ensure there are not unsafe levels of mold.”  It has denied that its employees are exposed to unsafe conditions.       

If AKOSH determines that the Hilton has violated any worker safety regulations, it will issue a citation.  The Hilton will have the opportunity to contest it.  There has been no determination of wrongdoing to date. 

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Outside the Sheraton

Federal Labor Board Rules for Sheraton Anchorage Hotel Union

The National Labor Relations Board has largely sided with union workers at a Downtown Anchorage hotel in a long-running labor dispute, ordering its Texas-based management company to implement a series of reforms.

According to a 74-page Wednesday decision posted on the NLRB’s website (PDF), the board has decided to uphold administrative law judge Gregory Meyerson’s August 2011 findings that Sheraton Anchorage Hotel owners Remington Lodging and Hospitality unfairly infringed on the rights of UNITE HERE Local 878 members…

Read Full Story at:

http://www.ktuu.com/news/federal-labor-board-rules-for-sheraton-anchorage-hotel-union-043013,0,969079.story

Solidarity Rally with AFL-CIO President Trumka

Solidarity March & Rally with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

UniteHERE President Marvin Jones with NW Regional Director Rick Sawyer, Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami & AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

 

 

Thank you to everyone: who helped make this a great success, for your continued support of the workers and good jobs in Alaska, and the worker-called boycotts at the Sheraton Anchorage & Anchorage Hilton hotels.

 

 

It’s been over 3 long years since workers at the Sheraton and Hilton have had a wage increase

AK AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami addresses the crowd at the rally in front of the Anchorage Hilton where workers have been fighting for a fair contract for over 3 years

 

 

Chants of ‘What’s disgusting? Union busting! What’s outrageous? Poverty Wages!’ could be heard for blocks


Workers & supporters line the street surrounding the Kentucky-owned Anchorage Hilton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the boycotts by not eating, sleeping, or attending meetings at these hotels until workers can resolve a fair contract with their Kentucky-based (Hilton) and Texas-based (Sheraton) employers.

AFL-CIO President Trumka speaks to the crowd about how employers like the Texas-owned Sheraton Anchorage & Kentucky-owned Anchorage Hilton, are a cancer.

You can find more photos from the rally on our Facebook Page

Sheraton Anchorage housekeepers petition Director over workloads

Maria Hernandez and a group of housekeepers from the Sheraton Anchorage present a petition to the director of sales at the Sheraton Anchorage.

The housekeepers of the Sheraton Anchorage have been forced to do exhausting workloads for 2 years.  The hotel continues to attempt to increase workloads to unfair levels.

“Equal Rights is a Human Right”

Unite Here Local 878 led the first Union contingent to march in the Anchorage Pridefest, in Alaska.

About 25 people joined Local 878’s contingent, chanting “Same Struggle, Same Fight!” and “Equal Rights is a Human Right!”.

A big Thank You to those who came to march with us in the Pridefest’s “Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Pride” parade: AK AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA, Plumbers/Pipefitters 367 & Local 878 members. Alaska Central Labor Council sponsored this year’s Pridefest as well.

Thank you also to Patti Higgins & Jodie Dominguez for showing support for Labor within their contingents.

VIDEO: Anchorage Sheraton Workers Speak Out

Check out this video from Unite HERE Local 878! Workers at the Sheraton Alaska who experienced harassment, intimidation, cut hours, unspecified job titles, loss of seniority and much more with new management in place.

 

Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Against Sheraton Hotel Operator – Alaska Public (KSKA Radio)

Anchorage hotel workers are celebrating after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against Remington Hospitality, the Texas-based operator of the city’s Sheraton Hotel. The injunction comes after a three-year legal battle. It requires the Sheraton take steps to restore the terms and conditions of employment as they existed prior to the hotel’s decision to stop union negotiations in 2009. Fay Gavin, a banquet server with 24 years with the Sheraton says she joined the lawsuit after management started doing things like cutting lunch breaks, increasing workload and giving away hours to temp workers.   The injunction, she says, is a step in the right direction.

Sheraton Anchorage Hotel Owner Slapped with Federal Injunction – KTUU

The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel’s Texas-based owners have been ordered to recognize union contracts and bargain with the union representing hospitality workers at the hotel.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess’s 34-page injunction was issued late Friday. Among other items, it includes provisions requiring Remington Lodging and Hospitality to restore paid lunch breaks and employer-paid health care and reduce housekeepers’ daily quota of cleaned rooms.

Federal judge orders Anchorage hotel to recognize and bargain with union – NLRB Press Release

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered the Sheraton Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska to recognize and bargain with its employees’ union representative of over thirty years after two years of increasingly tense relations that included a host of egregious unfair labor practice conduct by the Hotel, including its suspensionand discharge of Union supporters, unilateral changes in the employees’ terms and conditions of employment, prematurely declaring impasse in negotiations, and ultimately withdrawing recognition of the Union.

The preliminary injunction granted today by Judge Timothy M. Burgess will remain in effect until the NLRB’s administrative process is complete. Judge Burgess found that the NLRB was likely to prevail in its continued proceedings against the hotel, and that failing to issue an injunction at this point could cause irreparable harm to the employees and the public interest.

Labor board files lawsuit against Sheraton – Alaska Daily News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The National Labor Relations Board has filed a lawsuit in federal court, accusing the Texas owners of the Sheraton Anchorage of unfair labor practices.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing Remington Lodging and Hospitality from such practices and to resume negotiations with the union representing about 160 employees.