UNITE HERE Local 11 is quick to hype up its pro-employee bona fides. In the labor union’s words: “UNITE HERE members win positive change through union contracts.”
Even if that’s true, many employees aren’t so lucky. In fact, they blame Local 11 for coercing hotel workforces into unionization and for ruining employee relations with hotel employers throughout Southern California. Moreover, the union is often criticized for promoting so-called “card check” campaigns, which deny employees the right to vote on unionization via secret ballot election.
Just ask Sophal Im, a Rancho Palos Verdes resort worker at the five-star Terranea Resort, which is currently being picketed by Local 11. A concierge coordinator at the resort, Im has filed charges against the union, accusing its organizers of “violating federal labor law by demanding that Terranea assist [Local 11] in forcing Im and his co-workers into the union’s monopoly representation.” According to Im, Local 11 is demanding unionization through card check, and its organizers have “attack[ed] the resort for months without filing an election petition.”
Does that qualify as “positive change” too? Denying employees their rights to a private vote?
Unfortunately, Im isn’t alone. In recent years, Local 11 has been on the receiving end of dozens of unfair labor practice complaints filed by employers and employees alike. Ranging from union intimidation to a denial of secret ballot elections, many of the charges have been filed by exactly the sorts of workers whom Local 11 claims to represent (see examples here, here, and here).
Next time, think twice before you take the union’s claims at face value.