Santa Monica Democratic Club Votes Unanimously to Approve Resolution for Columbia Sussex to Cease Future Operations in City, as Labor Dispute with UNITE HERE Local 11 Enters Fifth Year
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SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Santa Monica Democratic Club convened last Wednesday night and voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on Columbia Sussex, owner and operator of the JW Marriott Le Merigot, to cease future operations in the city.

The full resolution calls on Columbia Sussex to abide by the law and orders from the National Labor Relations Board in addition to requesting that the corporation and its current management personnel "neither seek, nor accept any offer, to remain in any capacity to manage the operations" of the hotel.

"Columbia Sussex is a corporation that goes against the values that are at the heart of all our city stands for. We could not stand idly by while they continue to undermine those values...Over the past five years, Columbia Sussex and their lawyers have fought housekeepers' attempts to stand up for fair wages, benefits and job protections at every turn. It is time for Columbia Sussex to leave to make way for a company that will respect its workers," said Jon Katz, Santa Monica Democratic Club President

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This resolution comes as JW Marriott Le Merigot workers prepare for upcoming hearings on wage claims filed in 2018 alleging violations of California wage and hour laws. The workers allege that the hotel's burdensome workloads interfered with their ability to take rest breaks and caused some workers to work off the clock. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has scheduled the hearings to begin in May for the claims against Columbia Sussex.

"You can't always believe managers about what they say is going on inside a hotel. You have to listen to the workers. Thank you to the Democratic Club for listening and standing by us as we seek a resolution to our years-long labor dispute with Columbia Sussex," says Nellie Ruiz, former housekeeper at JW Marriott Le Merigot.

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In 2019, the Santa Monica Democratic Club supported housekeepers in successfully pushing for a city ordinance to protect housekeeping workers, to guarantee fair pay for heavy workloads and to guarantee that employers could not increase workloads in response to minimum wage increases without compensating them fairly. Housekeepers allege that managers employed by Columbia Sussex unlawfully pressured housekeepers to sign statements opposing the ordinance, leading to a settlement with the NLRB General Counsel.

The Santa Monica Democratic Club became aware that, according to JLL, Columbia Sussex has marketed the property for sale unencumbered by brand or management. The Club seeks to preserve the city's reputation for being a community of residents with a concern for an acceptable quality of life and for a law-abiding robust business sector that provides jobs and services.

Housekeeping employees voted to unionize with UNITE HERE Local 11 in 2016, yet more than four years later remain without a first union contract.

UNITE HERE Local 11 is the union of more than 32,000 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas & convention centers in Southern California & Arizona.stats
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