NLRB issues complaint against LA Grand Hotel

Dive Brief:

  • The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against LA Grand Hotel Downtown following accusations of unfair labor practices from Southern California hospitality union Unite Here Local 11, the union announced this week. 
  • In July, a union worker filed a charge alleging that the hotel — owned by Chinese real estate developer Shen Zhen New World LLC — had retaliated against her for expressing concerns about workplace safety. 
  • For Unite Here Local 11, which continues to hold multi-property strikes across the region, the complaint is a win. But for the hotel, the news adds to the litany of complaints and legal troubles the property has been embroiled in, including a $4 million fine for bribery.

Dive Insight:

A Unite Here-represented worker at LA Grand Hotel, Maribel Fajardo, claimed she was disciplined for raising workplace safety issues in staff meetings, something workers have a right to do under federal labor law without interference from management. 

“Our courageous members at the LA Grand have been without a contract since July of last year,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, in a statement. “They have been met with violence and apathy, and, as the National Labor Relations Board has alleged, illegal and retaliatory treatment. They deserve better.”

NLRB’s complaint requires the hotel to respond by Wednesday, March 13. 

LA Grand Hotel’s owner, Shen Zhen New World LLC, was convicted on bribery charges last year, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. The developer was found to have given more than $1 million in bribes to former Los Angeles City Council member Jose Huizar in an attempt to get approval to build a skyscraper downtown. 

Shen Zhen New World was fined $4 million, the maximum penalty under the law. 

This isn’t the first time Unite Here has alleged misconduct by the hotel. In October, striking workers said they were assaulted by a security guard the hotel had hired while they were picketing outside the property, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Workers at LA Grand Hotel walked out last month. The property is one of several where Unite Here workers are on strike for wages that better keep up with the rising cost of living.

Shen Zhen New World could not be reached for comment.