WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hotel workers at the Sofitel, overwhelmingly immigrants, women and people color, are organizing to join UNITE HERE and the International Union of Operating Engineers. The hotel, operated by Accor and owned by Brookfield Asset Management, has held mandatory anti-union meetings and threatened to change the schedule of an employee who is leading the union organizing effort.
“Sofitel must stop its union-busting practices and honor the dignity of work,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “These workers fight to make ends meet, while the hotel owner – Brookfield Asset Management – continues to rake in billions of dollars. It’s past time these workers got the respect they deserve.”
“Brookfield stands to benefit from billions in taxpayer subsidies. It should take a stance against anti- union bullying immediately,” said Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA).
"I am organizing a union because I want consistency with my schedule and to feel that my time is respected," said Fransico Rivas, an engineer at the Sofitel. "I want to spend more time with my family."
Accor, based in France, is one of the largest hotel companies in the world, with a major presence in Europe and Asia. The State Department has spent over $1.3 million on Sofitel hotels around the world under President Biden’s administration. Just steps from the White House, the D.C. Sofitel regularly hosts political VIPs at its restaurant, including the French Ambassador, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Embassy of Brazil. But workers there say the conditions are exhausting and that they cannot afford health insurance.
UNITE HERE represents workers at hotels managed by Accor and at hotels owned by Brookfield in 11 cities across the United States and Canada. Hotel workers at the Sofitel in D.C. don’t have a guarantee of the same affordable health insurance, fair scheduling, regular raises, and pensions that union workers at hotels in these cities, and at over 30 union hotels in D.C., already enjoy.
“One job should be enough to survive in our nation’s capital,” said UNITE HERE Local 25 Executive-Secretary Treasurer Paul Schwalb. “Accor should agree to the same fair process at the D.C. Sofitel that has been used at other hotels owned by Brookfield to allow workers to organize and decide whether to form a union without threats and intimidation.”
Workers at another Brookfield-owned hotel, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn (FSMI) in Sonoma, California, are also organizing to be represented by UNITE HERE Local 2. A federal investigation there recently found evidence of forty-three labor law violations at the luxury resort in Sonoma Wine Country.