|By Karen Robes Meeks, Press-Telegram,
Long Beach, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 26, 2010--LONG BEACH -- A labor group has filed formal charges with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of workers who claim Hyatt Regency Long Beach managers interrogated, discriminated, threatened and conducted surveillance on them.
UNITE HERE Local 11, the Los Angeles-based group that filed charges Monday, said the alleged acts happened in the last six months, most recently on May 16 when a Hyatt representative apparently videotaped hotel workers and their supporters picketing outside the 200 S. Pine Ave. hotel.
Long Beach resident Debbie Pacheco, who has worked as a front desk agent at the Hyatt for two years, was among the workers out there.
"It makes you feel as though they're trying to watch out to see who's being part of it and wanting to be part of the union," she said. "That's what makes us feel uncomfortable. You know they have their eye on you."
Pacheco said she has been treated differently because of her involvement in unionizing workers at her hotel."Before I started being part of the union, no one would ever ask me if I was on my break, no one would ever ask me where I was or watch me clock in to make sure I was on time," she said. "But after my affiliation, they started enforcing the tardiness if I was a minute late. There have been a few times when I would be clocking in and my manager would be standing right at the clocking machine to make sure I get there right on time. That didn't start happening until I became part of the union."
In the last few years, UNITE HERE has been helping hotel workers at the downtown Hyatt and Hilton unionize. Talks have been at a standstill over the process by which hotel workers decide to unionize. The hotels are in favor of a secret ballot election. The labor group is in favor of a card-check election in which the employer agrees to recognize a union as a representative on the basis of signed authorization cards.
Hyatt Corporation released a statement Tuesday.
"Our commitment to being a preferred employer is demonstrated by our core values of dignity and respect, and through the competitive wages, benefits, training programs and growth opportunities we offer to all of our associates.
"We are disappointed that UNITE HERE, in an aggressive campaign to pursue its own agenda, continues to mislead the public about Hyatt's commitment to our employees. Hyatt supports its employees' rights to choose whether they want to be represented by a union in a democratic, secret-ballot process supervised by the appropriate government representatives."
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