On April 24, 2013, the three-person Board that governs 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, issued its Decision and Order in a federal case brought by that agency against Texas-based Remington Lodging & Hospitality (“Remington”), the corporation that operates the Sheraton Hotel & Spa in Anchorage. The case stems from a long-running dispute between the Sheraton and its workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 878.
In its ruling, the NLRB found that that Remington has committed numerous unfair labor practices against both the union and its workers, including (but not limited to) (1) in October of 2009, unlawfully imposing new requirements that housekeepers clean 17 rooms per shift, that employees clock in and out for lunch, and that employees who eat the food prepared in the cafeteria pay $1 for the meal; (2) in May of 2010, unlawfully taking away from the workers the Union health benefits plan; (3) unlawfully firing four workers and unlawfully disciplining many others for engaging in activities in support of their union; (4) maintaining and enforcing eight unlawful rules in its employee handbook; and (5) unlawfully withdrawing recognition from the Union as the bargaining representative of the workers based on signatures on a petition that Remington unlawfully obtained through threats and promises.
Remington now has to make all of the workers whole for all wages, benefits, and health care costs they lost or incurred as a result of these unlawful acts, plus interest, and (upon the Union’s request) return to the bargaining table and negotiate a new labor agreement with the Union.
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, two lengthy NLRB hearings (the first one of which has just resulted in the Decision and Order discussed above), with a third hearing scheduled for mid-July, two meritless federal 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 are pleased with this new Board ruling in their favor, 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.
A copy of the complete text of the Decision and Order in this case, Remington Lodging & Hospitality, LLC, d/b/a The Sheraton Anchorage v. UNITE HERE! Local 878, AFL-CIO, 359 NLRB No. 95 (2013), can be found on-line at http://www.nlrb.gov/cases-decisions/board-decisions.