Workers and supporters rally at the Hilton Anchorage on March 6. The union has contracted with a building inspector in an effort to better understand the causes of mold growth reported at the hotel in 2014 and to prevent its recurrence.

Union Hires Building Inspector in Latest Effort to Protect Workers Against Potential Mold Exposure

Building trades, mayoral candidate rally at Hilton Anchorage for “Safety First!”

Workers and supporters rally at the Hilton Anchorage on March 6. The union has contracted with a building inspector in an effort to better understand the causes of mold growth reported at the hotel in 2014 and to prevent its recurrence.Local 878  announced today that we have contracted for an independent building inspection of the hotel in an effort to better understand the causes of mold growth reported during 2014 and to prevent its recurrence.

Visible and audible from the Fur Rondy Carnival on Third Avenue, today’s noontime rally brought dozens of local building trades workers in bright orange hard hats and Anchorage mayoral candidate Ethan Berkowitz to picket outside the Hilton.

“We’re proud to stand with the workers of the Hilton Anchorage,” said Aaron Plikat, a plumbing specialist and president of the South Central Alaska Building Trades Council. “We all deserve to work safe every day.”

The State of Alaska office of Occupational Safety and Health cited the Hilton Anchorage in December for allegedly failing to assess the workplace for potential hazards and to select appropriate protective equipment for employees whose work could bring them into contact with mold. In January, the hotel settled the allegations and paid a fine without admitting wrongdoing.

Hilton employees say a more thorough evaluation of potential causes of mold at the hotel is needed to prevent its recurrence. Representatives of UNITE HERE Local 878 note that testing conducted after the date the hotel stated repairs in affected guest rooms were complete indicated a continuing presence of mold in some areas.

“We acknowledge the Hilton’s statements that they have taken steps to prevent or minimize the likelihood of mold growing,” said UNITE HERE Local 878 President Marvin Jones. “Even so, we are left to wonder why, if Room 1030 was repaired in September, the hotel needed to repair it again as of this past December?”

The hotel stated on October 10, 2014 that they had completed all repairs to 48 potentially water-damaged guest rooms in mid-September of that year. But on October 23—less than two weeks later—the hotel found an elevated mold score in a room listed as having been previously repaired. The hotel informed the employees through their union about the elevated mold score in the previously repaired room on December 3. Alaska Occupational Safety and Health also detected the presence of mold in some areas when the agency conducted sampling at the hotel on October 31.

A group of workers at the Hilton Anchorage grew concerned last spring whether possible exposure to mold while working could potentially impact their health. Since then, the workers, the Hilton, and Local 878 have been in communication about what the Hilton says it has found while addressing mold or conditions conducive to mold.

Last month, Local 878 requested access to the hotel by a building inspector. Federal labor law gives employees or their union the right to gather information about working conditions, including the safety of the building in which they work. Hotel management has agreed to cooperate.

UNITE HERE Local 878, which represents over 150 employees at the Hilton Anchorage, executed its contract Friday with Cool Air Mechanical, Inc. of Anchorage to perform a building inspection at the Hilton Anchorage.

A complete timeline of the workers’ complaints, state investigation, and hotel communications related to mold and condition conducive to mold growth at the Hilton Anchorage is available at

Story by Caroline Flynn of Your Alaska Link news.

Hilton Anchorage on Fox 13

Boycott the Hilton Anchorage!

Staff Say Hilton and Safety Agency Slow To Respond to Mold Concerns

As investigation continues, workers remain in the dark about mold

Boycott the Hilton Anchorage!Hotel workers wearing lab coats, rubber gloves, dust masks, and safety goggles demonstrated outside the Hilton Anchorage Wednesday afternoon to protest what they consider to be an insufficient response by the Hilton to their concerns about mold. Workers, through their union, also submitted a letter to the Hilton asking for an update on management’s own program to remediate mold and moisture in the hotel. 

Employees filed a state health and safety complaint in May alleging they worked around mold without adequate training or protective gear. Five months later, the state’s investigation is ongoing, but workers say the Hilton has still not provided the training and equipment they are seeking.

Ralliers asked guests to add their own observations of mold or moisture to help gather data for the state investigation.

In April 2014, some Hilton Anchorage employees reported symptoms they think may have been caused by working around mold at the hotel. The hotel reported May 6 that it had found mold or possible water damage in 48 guest rooms. At the time, the hotel advised workers to seek proper medical diagnosis and treatment if they have health concerns regarding mold exposure.

Hilton employees submitted a complaint on May 13 to the Alaska workplace safety administration alleging insufficient safety equipment, training, and knowledge of the issue to safeguard their health. The complaint remains under investigation. The Hilton has denied unsafe conditions.

The Hilton Anchorage has implemented what it calls an “aggressive” preventative maintenance program to address mold and moisture. Workers want to ensure that worker education and equipment are part of that program. Hilton documents show the hotel has been addressing leakage issues since 2012.

Senator Begich with Hilton employee Fale.

Hilton Anchorage Workers Demand Action on Workplace Health Investigation

Months after filing complaint and citing safety concerns, workers turn to Senator Begich 

Senator Begich with Hilton employee Fale.For Immediate Release: Friday, August 22, 2014

Workers at the Anchorage Hilton brought an atypical election-season issue to the attention of Senator Mark Begich as he visited their employee cafeteria Friday.

 A group of maids, bell hops, and other hotel workers are seeking resolution of a complaint they filed with the state’s workplace safety agency May 13.  In that complaint, workers alleged that they lacked adequate training and protective equipment when working around mold at the hotel. Some workers reported allergy-like and other symptoms that they were concerned may be related to mold.  

“No one should have to worry about their health when they come to work. I take these concerns very seriously,” said Senator Begich.

After the Anchorage Hilton reported on May 6 that it had found mold or possible water damage conducive to mold growth in 48 guest rooms, Hilton employees submitted a complaint on May 13 to the Alaska workplace safety administration, Occupational Safety and Health, alleging insufficient safety equipment, training, and knowledge of the issue to safeguard their health when they worked around mold.

More than 12 weeks after filing their state complaint, workers were frustrated with what they say is a slow response.

“We want Occupational Safety and Health to get documentation from the hotel of repair work they’ve done,” said Marvin Jones, President of UNITE HERE Local 878, the union that represents the majority of Hilton Anchorage employees. “We want them to interview the maintenance workers involved in repairs that are due to mold or moisture problems.” 

While the Anchorage Hilton has implemented what it calls an “aggressive” preventative maintenance program to address mold and moisture, workers want to ensure that proper training and protective equipment is included in that program. 

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UNITE HERE Local 878 represents 1,100 workers in the hospitality industries of Alaska.
Local 878 members work in hotels, restaurants, food service outlets, and laundries.

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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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.



300 protesters gather for Occupy Anchorage – The Northern Light

Several speakers focused on the boycott of the Sheraton and Hilton, including Native Rights activist Desa Jacobbson.

“That is no way for an Alaskan worker to be treated, and Alaska will not stand for it because it’s uncivilized,” Jacobbson said.