|By Eric Anderson, Albany Times Union,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 6, 2009--COLONIE -- The owner of a Latham hotel is facing a complaint from the National Labor Relations Board that he illegally fired three employees for seeking to organize a union.
James Morrell, owner and president of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Latham, is named in the complaint, along with several other supervisors at the hotel.
The hotel has been the site of picketing for several months after three workers were dismissed, two were reinstated, and then fired a second time, according to the federal complaint.
"The regional director of the NLRB is alleging the employer engaged in various acts of unlawful conduct, including the discharge of three employees," said Barney Horowitz, an NLRB official in Albany.
Efforts to reach Morrell for comment Thursday afternoon weren't successful.
According to the complaint, the hotel's executive housekeeper/supervisor threatened to increase employees' workloads, eliminate their breaks, and tighten the enforcement of rules if they supported the union.
Over a period of weeks, employees also faced interrogation over support of the union, the complaint alleges.
They were also asked how they planned to vote on the union issue, according to the complaint.
"The workers at this hotel wanted the opportunity to bargain for better wages, retirement security and health care," said Mike Roberts, a spokesman for the labor union Workers United, SEIU. "But Jim Morrell, owner of the hotel and many other businesses across the Capital Region, took away that opportunity."
Horowitz said a hearing would be held in front of an administrative law judge in Albany on Jan. 11.
The hearing, to begin at 1 p.m., will be held in Room 342 of the Leo W. O'Brien Federal Building in Albany.
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