CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On July 31, Bloomberg reported that Chinese authorities are pressuring insurance giant Anbang to sell its overseas assets. Hotel union UNITE HERE is calling on the company to ensure that its hotel workers are protected in any transition.
UNITE HERE affiliates represent over a thousand workers at Anbang-owned hotels in the United States. The union is currently in contract negotiations at Anbang’s Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, and labor contracts with UNITE HERE affiliates at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco and Fairmont Chicago expire in August 2018.
“Our members at the Fairmont have worked at the hotel since long before Anbang bought it,” said Karen Kent, president of UNITE HERE Local 1 in Chicago. “Hotel workers didn’t create the mess Anbang now finds itself in, and they shouldn’t be punished for it. We want Anbang’s assurance that hotel workers will not be fired, and that Anbang will be open and transparent about any sale process.”
In May, UNITE HERE affiliates submitted formal information requests to Anbang, requesting details on the firm’s ownership and sources of capital. In June, UNITE HERE members at Anbang’s Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel supported efforts by the Santa Monica City Council to strengthen hotel ownership disclosure laws in the city.
The sale of a hotel can result in changes in management and staff and can cause significant disruption for hospitality workers.
“I understand that Anbang may be facing global political and economic pressures,” said Lillian Arnold, a room attendant at the Fairmont Chicago. “I face pressures too—making sure that I can provide for my family. We can’t let a decision in China disrupt our lives.”