Carmel. More than 100 Carmel hotel workers and their supporters marched through downtown Carmel, September 1, 2011, in protest of actions by La Playa Hotel, Pine Inn, and Tally-Ho Inn ownership. The Carmel Hotel Workers Rising March began at La Playa Hotel and ended at Pine Inn, followed by several speeches by hotel workers and their community supporters. The March was sponsored by UNITE HERE Local 483, the labor union representing hospitality workers in the Monterey Bay area since 1937.
Carmel is the center of labor conflict in the Monterey Bay hotel industry today.
La Playa Hotel owner Nob Hill Properties, Inc. issued layoff notices to the workers, warning that they could be out of a job as early as November 1st, because of a change in hotel ownership. La Playa Hotel workers are seeking to protect their jobs when the hotel sells. The owner has thus far refused to honor its long-time workers with a guarantee that they continue in their jobs after an ownership change. This gesture of basic respect toward workers is common in the hotel industry. In fact, the Cope family primary owners of Nob Hill Properties, has made this same commitment to protect its hotel workers at the Cope’s Huntington Hotel in San Francisco.
At the Pine Inn & Tally-Ho Inn, owner Richard Gunner of Fresno has refused to increase health insurance and pension payments, as required by the insurance and pension funds, while demanding to eliminate family health insurance at the bargaining table.
90 La Playa Hotel workers have been without a new labor contract since August 1, 2010, while 35 Pine Inn & Tally-Ho Inn workers have been without a contract since January 1, 2011. The workers are housekeeping, laundry, bell, front desk, dining, kitchen, grounds, and maintenance employees.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. Mr. Cope could protect our jobs; it’s not too late. Mr. Gunner could continue to pay the Pine Inn benefits like he has for decades. Do the right thing! We’re having this march to send that urgent message,” said 22-year La Playa banquet worker Antonia Ihnot.
The next public union demonstration in Carmel is scheduled for Thursday, October 20 at 1:00 p.m. at La Playa Hotel.