Fresno. Dozens of Carmel hotel workers and their community supporters–from both the Monterey Bay and Fresno areas– participated in a Rally for Health Care for Pine Inn Workers, April 20th at the offices of the hotel’s owner, Richard Gunner, 555 West Shaw Avenue, Fresno.
The protest comes in the wake of Gunner’s April 1st elimination of decades-long employer coverage of family health insurance for the Pine Inn and Tally-Ho Inn (also owned by Gunner) workers. These 28 Carmel hotel workers, their 29 children, and 13 spouses are seeking reinstatement of their hard-earned benefits. Mr. Gunner has not said he cannot afford to pay.
Pine Inn & Tally-Ho Inn workers have been without a labor contract since January 1, 2011. Contract negotiations and numerous public demonstrations, so far involving more than 800 Monterey Bay community participants, are ongoing at these Carmel hotels. The workers, who went on a two-day strike last February, are housekeeping, laundry, bell, and front desk, employees. They are members of UNITE HERE Local 483, the labor union representing hospitality workers in the Monterey Bay area since 1937.
Mr. Gunner is a wealthy Fresno area land owner, developer, and well-known philanthropist and political donor. He also owns the Santa Barbara Inn.
“We can’t lose the health insurance for our families. We have to stand up and fight for our children; that is why we are protesting,” said Oralia Garcia, a mother of three and 9-year front desk worker at Gunner’s Pine Inn.
“Here’s a man, Mr. Gunner, who has given so much to Children’s Hospital, yet he turns around and takes health care away from the children of his own Pine Inn workers,” said UNITE HERE Local 483 President, Sergio Rangel. “We’ve come to Fresno to ask him to do the right thing and bring back the family health insurance plan.”
and Fresno areas delivers a petition to Richard
Gunner at his Fresno office on April 20, 2012.