LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 11 has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the owner of the Four Points by Sheraton at LAX. The charge alleges that an owner of the hotel, New Wynn Li LP Sheraton Four Points LAX, did not provide information the Union requested of its agent in connection with the owner’s decision to lay off employees and potentially close the hotel.
The hotel’s workers, who are members of Local 11, were laid off en masse last year. In December 2020 and January 2021, the Union requested a range of information concerning the hotel, its plans, and its economic situation—including how funds obtained through a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) program loan were being utilized—as part of an effort to ensure laid-off workers are treated fairly. The unfair labor practice charge alleges that the Company never provided the requested information. Under the federal National Labor Relations Act, employers have a broad obligation to provide information to unions to facilitate collective bargaining.
The charge follows another complaint filed by the Union in early April 2021 with the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), relating to PPP loans obtained by a Four Points by Sheraton LAX company. The complaint asked the SBA to conduct investigation of the $4.4 million in PPP loans approved for the hotel as its owner permanently closed the hotel on February 5, 2021, only one week after being approved for its second loan. SBA records indicate the loans were approved for Rui Gao Inc. Property records indicate that Rui Gao Inc and New Wynn Li LP are owners of the hotel.
Congress intended for PPP loans to be used by small businesses in order to keep workers on payroll, not to subsidize large hospitality conglomerates. The hotel originally received $2.4 million in April 2020, and the SBA may have already “forgiven” this loan, converting it into a taxpayer grant.
Workers carried out a socially distanced protest in front of the hotel on April 7, calling attention to the Union’s complaint concerning the PPP loans and contrasting the “bailout” the hotel received to the dire economic situation facing its laid-off workers.
Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, stated: “These workers have given much of their lives to this hotel, greatly enriching its owners. They deserve to be treated with a basic level of respect. What is the company trying to hide?”
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.