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Members declare victory for workplace safety after complaint and state inspection

Mold Complaint Gets Results at Hilton Anchorage

Workers declare victory for workplace safety after complaint and state inspection

Members declare victory for workplace safety after complaint and state inspectionEmployees who called attention to mold at the Hilton Anchorage have won an important battle in their fight for safety on the job.

A group of workers at the Hilton Anchorage grew concerned last spring whether possible exposure to mold while working at the flagship downtown hotel could potentially impact their health.

Some of them lodged a complaint with the State of Alaska Occupational Safety and Health office last May, which opened what turned out to be a five-month inspection.

Over the ensuing months, AKOSH conducted three separate mold sampling protocols that “indicated the presence of mold to varying levels of count,” according to a December 12 letter the office sent to the union that represents Hilton Anchorage workers. AKOSH issued citations in December 2014, alleging violations of workplace safety laws focused mainly on hazard assessment and protective equipment.

Finally, earlier this month, the Hilton Anchorage settled the citations with AKOSH. The settlement lightened the citations and penalties, while containing a limited non-admissions clause, but the hotel agreed to correct the alleged violations as modified by the settlement.

“The people at the Hilton Anchorage want to do their jobs right,” said Marvin Jones, president of the union. “We commend the State for doing a thorough inspection and taking this issue seriously.”

Employees at the Hilton Anchorage have been asking potential guests to boycott their own hotel for the past six years because the company will not agree to a fair contract. The boycott is ongoing.

Learn more about the worker complaint, safety inspection, and final agreement at www.moldreportak.org.

KENTUCKY-BASED COLUMBIA SUSSEX CONTINUES TO HURT ALASKA WORKING FAMILIES

For Immediate Release: June 5, 2013

KENTUCKY-BASED COLUMBIA SUSSEX CONTINUES TO HURT ALASKA WORKING FAMILIES

Monday June 3rd Alaskan workers of the Anchorage Hilton met with management and representatives of the Kentucky-based Corporation, Columbia Sussex, who owns the hotel. For five years workers have been fighting for affordable healthcare, safe workloads, job security protections, and reasonable wage increases in the face of out-of-state corporate employers. At Monday’s meeting the corporation again insulted Anchorage workers and refused to provide workers a wage increase for the fifth year in a row.

The Anchorage Hilton at one time was locally owned and was a cornerstone in the Community. It was a place where workers were treated with dignity and respect. Once upon a time, for 30 years, the Hilton was good to its workers and helped make and keep Anchorage a vibrant community. That all changed when Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex bought the hotel and has been driving down Alaskan families and their ability to survive in our great State.

Columbia Sussex, owned by William J. Young III, continues to hurt Alaska middle class families by imposing unsafe workloads on workers at the Anchorage Hilton, especially in housekeeping; a profession with higher injury rates than coal miners. Cuts to healthcare coverage of workers and increasing employee contributions further burdens Alaska workers. This five year wage increase refusal is yet another blow to Alaskan workers and their ability to provide for their families.

Anchorage Hilton workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 878, have been attempting to negotiate with their employer, Columbia Sussex, since July of 2008. These Alaskan workers have simply been asking to maintain the same working conditions and benefits listed in their long expired contract which guaranteed safe workloads, job security protections, regular wage increases, and affordable family medical insurance. In May of 2009, Hilton workers overwhelmingly voted to place a boycott on their hotel.  Workers are asking potential guests, and fellow Alaskans, to support their fight by not eating, sleeping, or attending meetings/events the outside-owned Anchorage Hilton until the boycott is over.

Light the Night for Workers Rights Vigil

“We call upon this place of business to repent and be redeemed, to turn from selfish and greedy ways to a way of business that benefits all – guests, workers, managers, corporate executives and investors.

I stand and speak to remind us all that the choices we make and the actions we take in this life, on this earth, are of ultimate concern.  The way we live—as individuals, families, businesses, societies and nations—matters to God.  God cares.  God cares, intensely, about justice and righteousness in the workplace.  God judges the unjust; God judges the greedy corporate executives and business managers who treat their employees unjustly.  The Word of God calls out:

Do not heap up for yourselves piles of profits to satisfy your greed; rather, hear and heed
the voice of the prophets who speak the truth of God’s reign of justice for all.

We call upon this place of business to repent and be redeemed, to turn from selfish and greedy ways to a way of business that benefits all –investors, corporate executives, managers, workers, and guests.”  – Pastor Petersen at the boycott Hilton vigil

 

Over 50 community members, lit the street by candlelight, and endured single digit temps & biting wind to show support for good jobs in Alaska, Alaska workers & Alaska job standards.

“A Thousand candles can be lit from a single candle. The life of the candle will never be shorted by sharing its light."

 

A delegation of Anchorage housekeepers, community leaders and supporters move inside the Hilton hotel to deliver a letter about respecting Alaska job standards & treating Alaska workers with dignity and respect.

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

Alaskans Struggle for Dignity & Respect in Anchorage Hotel

For over three years Alaskan workers at the Hilton Anchorage have been fighting for affordable healthcare, safe workloads, job security protections, and reasonable wage increases in the face of out-of-state corporate employers, Columbia Sussex. Dozens of Community members came out, in spite of the not quite Spring  temps, to Picket the Anchorage Hilton on May 3rd & show their support for Good Jobs in Alaska!