Carmel, CA. Dozens of hotel workers and community allies will celebrate Cesar Chavez Day just where the late union leader might have expected to be honored: on the picket-line. Organized by UNITE HERE Local 483, the demonstration will protest the Pine Inn & Tally-Ho Inn attempt to take away family health care benefits from workers.
The Chavez Day Rally will be held today, Friday, March 30, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Pine Inn, Ocean Avenue between Lincoln Street and Monte Verde Street in Carmel.
Ricardo Arvizu, a 3-year Pine Inn houseman, said, “Cesar Chavez helped hard-working, Mexican American people like us get the courage to stand up for our rights. I feel like we are continuing his struggle here in Carmel.”
Local 483 Secretary-Treasurer, Leonard O’Neill, recalled a visit from Chavez to the union’s office in Pacific Grove, “It was definitely one of our union’s most memorable and inspiring moments to be sitting and strategizing with one of America’s greatest labor and civil rights leaders.” O’Neill added, “The UFW [United Farm Workers] slogan under his leadership, ‘Si se puede,’—or ‘Yes, we can,’–has become the battle cry of the entire labor movement. We will take that history and energy to the Pine Inn picket-line.”
This rally follows the recent two-day strike by the workers back on February 8 and 9 and the March for Health Care through downtown Carmel on March 15. Pine Inn & Tally-Ho Inn workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 483, have been without a contract since January 1, 2011. The workers are housekeeping, bell, front desk, and maintenance employees. The hotel owner is demanding to eliminate longtime employer coverage of family health insurance for the Pine Inn and Tally-Ho Inn workers. These 28 Carmel hotel workers, their 29 children, and 13 spouses are facing the loss of their hard-earned benefits. The owner has not said he cannot afford to pay.
Founded in 1937, UNITE HERE Local 483 represents 1,200 Monterey Bay area hospitality workers at two dozen hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, and golf courses.
Pine Inn and Tally-Ho Inn are owned by Richard V. Gunner of Fresno and Santa Barbara, California. Gunner also owns the Santa Barbara Inn, as well as other real estate interests focused in the Fresno and Santa Barbara areas.