The Sheraton Park Hotel and the UNITE-HERE Local 11 have reportedly reached agreement on a contract. The previous agreement between the hotel and the militantly leftist union expired at the end of November 2018, and Local 11 members – primarily housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers and front-desk agents – had been working without a contract.
Although the terms haven’t been made public, UNITE-HERE Local 11 was demanding the same agreement reached with approximately a dozen luxury hotels in Los Angeles – such as boosting the starting hourly wage to $25 an hour (from the current $17) and capping how many rooms individual employees could clean in a day.
Last last night, UNITE-HERE organizers began posting on social media that the Sheraton had agreed to a contract:
UNITE-HERE Local 11 co-leader Ada Briceno shared this video from Local 11 organizer Veronica Chavez:
UNITE-HERE Local 11 organizers were quick to claim the agreement was the result of the union’s organized and illegal shut-down of the Katella Avenue-Harbor Boulevard intersection as tens of thousands of NAMM Show attendees were pouring out of the Anaheim Convention Center last Thursday evening. A police presence of more than 50 officers was required and 21 people – including Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno – were arrested in a union-organized disruption that placed a significant drain on the city’s police resources.
It’s unknown if that is the case, but there’s reason to believe it’s more public relations aimed at Local 11 members. The Sheraton Park and UNITE-HERE Local 11 have been engaged in negotiations for weeks. According to some observers close to the matter, it’s likely the two sides were close to an agreement prior to the union’s civil disruption action. It’s likelystrike threats by Local 11 were also a salient consideration for the Sheraton Park Hotel.
It’s not unheard of for unions to engage in theatrics in order to convince members that union leaders are “fighting” for them. Long-time Orange County Employees Association Nick Berardino once told this writer the reason his union spent hundreds of thousands on independent expenditures against then-OC Treasurer John Moorlach’s supervisor campaign was to show union membership their leadership was “standing up for them.” Berardino knew the IE effort was doomed, but said the art of union leadership was staying ahead of the membership.
The Sheraton Park management has accused Local 11 of swing discord among employees and harassing other hotel staff, according to an article in today’s The Guardian newspaper:
In a letter sent from the Sheraton Park resort to Unite Here Local 11, the hotel’s general manager wrote: “Union representatives continue to unnecessarily agitate the associates, causing some associates to leave work in tears, and negatively impact the guests who financially support the Hotel and provide our associates with work opportunities.”
Local 11 contract negotiations with the Anaheim Hilton remain ongoing. According to The Guardian, the Anaheim Hilton has preparations in place to deal with a strike:
A spokesperson for Hilton hotels said in an email: “If the union decides to call a strike, we have contingency plans in place to ensure operations run as smoothly as possible and that we continue to offer the same service and amenities that we are proud to provide our guest and clients every day.”
Only the Anaheim Hilton, the Sheraton Park Hotel and the Disneyland Resort hotel properties are unionized. In fact, the hotel workforce in the Anaheim Resort is, for the most part, non-unionized – which accounts for the relative lack of union-sponsored unrest in the Anaheim Resort.
UNITE-HERE Local 11 leader Ada Briceno – now the chair of the OC Democratic Party – and Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno are doing their best to change that situation.