|By Larry Rulison, Times Union, Albany,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 28, 2011--COLONIE -- The union trying to organize workers at the Holiday Inn Express in Latham has lost another legal battle against the hotel.
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., once again dismissed a host of labor charges that Workers United Local 471 had made against the hotel claiming unfair labor practices.
The decision last week denied an appeal that the union made of a September decision by the NLRB to dismiss the case brought against the hotel by the union.
"Your appeal from the regional director's refusal to issue (a) complaint has been carefully considered," NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon wrote in a Jan. 21 letter. "The appeal is denied."
The union had alleged that the hotel hired a management firm called Bullock Hospitality to get around a previous labor settlement with the union over the firing of employees who had sought to organize a union. In its previous denial, the NLRB said there was no evidence that the hotel used the hiring of Bullock to circumvent the previous settlement.
Richard Bensinger, a union expert who is serving as a consultant to the union and the hotel workers, said Thursday that the NLRB has "lost sight of the big picture" in making its decision, which he said was based on technicalities.
"We are extremely disappointed that the NLRB upheld the region's decision not to issue a complaint," Bensinger said. "The contracting out of the hotel was a ploy or ruse to get rid of the union."
Tod Hanlon, president of Bullock, did not return a call seeking comment on the NLRB's decision.
The fight between the union and the hotel became contentious at times as workers and union organizers picketed in front of the hotel for well over a year.
Bensinger, who is filming a documentary on the case, said he does not plan to stop here.
"I am personally going to file a motion of reconsideration at the NLRB. Knowing these workers, I know they will never give up their fight for a fair election," Bensinger said.
Barney Horowitz, a spokesman for the NLRB's local office, said a denial by the general counsel's office is the last step in the case and there can be no further review.
Reach Larry Rulison at 454-5504 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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