THROWBACK THURSDAY | WeHo should be wary of UNITE HERE Local 11’s growing influence

Originally published Monday, March 18, 2019.

Like an uninvited guest, Unite Here Local 11 has arrived in West Hollywood with its own interests in mind rather than its host’s. Residents of WeHo should know what they’re in for.

Local 11 portrays itself as a champion for workers, but in fact the union has a lengthy history of alleged unfair labor practices. Dozens of its own members have filed charges against the union, alleging emotional abuse, threats and pervasive neglect. One union whistleblower recently voiced these concerns in a public video (though he asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation). This whistleblower discussed how the majority of his colleagues opposed the union’s self-serving agenda.

Local 11’s penchant for pushing people around doesn’t stop with its own members. According to the Los Angeles Times, Local 11 has of late been stalking the online wedding registries of soon-to-be brides. The union leaves public messages in the “guestbook” section which aim to discourage these women from holding their weddings at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. Resort president Terri Haack claimed the union “intimidated some groups into canceling events, which costs our employees hours and tips that they will never get back.”

The reason why? Local 11 hopes to pressure the resort into signing a deal that would secure new dues-paying members for the union, weddings—and employee well-being—be damned.

WeHo got a taste of these Terranea-style tactics with the union’s opposition to the Robertson Lane hotel project. The reason for the opposition was never particularly clear: The owner offered to prioritize the hiring of local workers, pay a wage of $15.37 an hour, and provide “panic buttons” for hotel employees. These standards met or exceeded the standards the union has supported throughout Los Angeles County. No matter: Local 11 launched a vicious campaign against the hotel development, suggesting with little evidence that the development was insufficiently respectful of the location’s history.

The union’s interest, as always, was creating a new source of dues-paying members: “We want union people to maintain the hotel after it’s built,” said one Local 11 employee at a WeHo council meeting.

Local 11 has garnered limited support on the WeHo Council, portraying itself as a champion of both workers’ and women’s rights. But the union’s zeal for speaking out against worker abuse was nonexistent when the director of its affiliate—Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE)—stepped down last year amid a sexual misconduct scandal. Local 11 provided support checks and shared office space with CLUE, where female employees alleged that CLUE’s director was “committing wage violations and inappropriately withholding pay” as well as “making inappropriate sexual remarks and inappropriately touching female employees’ breasts and thighs.”

When asked why the alleged misconduct was allowed to go on for so long, one source said: “The board was interested in the photo-ops and not interested in oversight.”

For a supposed-progressive organization, Local 11’s values often contradict those of the communities they organize in. Consider Local 11’s latest contract at the Hilton in Anaheim. The agreement bars the hotel from introducing “programs that allow guests to go without room cleaning for several days.” This means pro-environment policies that enable guests to reuse linens, save energy on vacuuming, and reduce the use of chemicals in the housekeeping process are banned. The missed opportunity is significant: After implementing its Make a Green Choice Program, the Marriott hotel chain “lowered its energy use by 13.2 percent” and lowered its “greenhouse gas emissions by 15.8 percent” in almost 10 years.

The union has been active for years in Santa Monica, and it finally seems to have overstayed its welcome; a survey last year of city voters found that nearly 60% wanted the union to have less influence with City Council. It’s an important word of warning for the City Council in WeHo: When Local 11 comes knocking, don’t answer the door.

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JF1
JF1
2 months ago

We need to stop this union’s strong influence over how our city is governed. Vote Heilman, Duran and Meister to get the city back on track!

Peter
Peter
2 months ago

This article’s author.
Check out her associations with Trump Republicans and Conservative (union busting/climate change denying/anti LGBQT > Heritage Foundation) think tanks.

Last edited 2 months ago by Peter
Joshua88
Joshua88
2 months ago

Please consider the note:

Originally published Monday, March 18, 2019.

Joshua88
Joshua88
2 months ago

Be careful whose voices you listen to. Charlyce Bozzello – Director Of Communications – PR firm | LinkedIn Ms Bozzello has quite a history: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research *Free-market* think tank. Heritage Foundation: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values. Deputy Regional Field Director – Republican Gov Charlie Baker and Lt Gov Karyn Polito.  Field Director: Hannah Kane – Republican Rep Worcester MA Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Program Officer for the Adam Smith Society The Adam Smith Society is committed to defending free enterprise. Contributions of the free market to advancing human flourishing and opportunity for… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Joshua88
Michael G Labarbera
Michael G Labarbera
2 months ago

I am absolutely Pro Union, but NO ONE union should hold so much power in one city.

Fidel
Fidel
2 months ago

I have been a union member for almost 40 years. This organization should be investigated by the state Attorney General. No organization, even a Labor Union, should be able to make statements that are false and misleading. This state earns a lot of money from tourism. We are dependent on this money The Givernor should have an investigative unit that reviews any company, including Unions, that attempt to harm the state”s economy. Racketeering is racketeering, even if it is done under the name of political speech.
#STOP THE UNITE GATE!

voting
voting
2 months ago

Thank you for the article, but I have always known that this union was corrupt and an enemy of the residents of West Hollywood. Their support brought us Sepi Shyne and John Erickson, whose deceitful, immature, and irresponsible activities and votes have harmed the city in so many ways.

I would like to know the actual names and faces of the leaders of this dangerous group.

Town Hall Meeting
Town Hall Meeting
3 years ago

This subject deserves a Town Hall Meeting.

John
John
3 years ago

Wow! WeHoVille has sold out to the dark side! This is a progressive city with progressive values. This young woman works for the same people whos sole job is to take away the many rights we have fought for. You should be ashamed WeHoVille.

Former Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  John

We welcome opinions from all sides on any issue. That’s what freedom of expression is all about!

ty Geltmaker, Ph.D. (Historian)
ty Geltmaker, Ph.D. (Historian)
3 years ago
Reply to  Former Staff

Dear Hank,

I’m an old NYC/UPI wire service guy with previous experience at local paper in Peoria, Illinois and Rome, Italy newspapers. It’s disingenuous of you to claim this innocence regarding your publishing of this shill anti-union piece lacking full attribution of the author’s source. Under my UPI desk you would have been fired for this transgression.

Former Staff
3 years ago

As a “wire service guy” I’m guessing you know the difference between a news story and an op-ed or opinion piece, which is what this is and how it was labeled. The opinions are those of the writer, not those of WEHOville. Are they based on fact? Who knows? Opinions, like religion, are rooted in the beliefs of those who hold them, and they are something we welcome all of our readers to debate so long as they are focused on local issues and are about the issues, not the holders of the opinions. That’s what freedom of expression is… Read more »

Ham
Ham
2 months ago

Fired for an opinion? Good grief.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
3 years ago

I reject any commentary that suggests that WEHOville should limit the opinion pieces submitted by members of the community who have a local interest in what is happening within our borders. An opinion piece such as the one presented is an important part of civil discourse in our little hamlet. However, the author and the organizations she represents are Washington, DC-based lobbying and public relations firms. What I do reject is the use of a local forum for powerful national lobbying organizations which can afford to have young associates write pieces on behalf of the economic interests of the clients… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 years ago

I am certainly a lot more worried about the influence that developers and land use consultants have on our City Council members than Unite Here. The numbers speak for themselves as the rise of “independent expenditure” campaigns funded by developers have kept unresponsive and arrogant incumbents such as John Duran in office. D’Amico went from first place position in the last election to third because he managed to alienate his base with his pro-development votes and his embrace of John Duran. Many people were offended by his participation in giving Stormy Daniels the key to the City. Unite Here simply… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I find it odd that a comment posted three years ago is suddenly resurrected.

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Why are Steve Martin’s editorials and now reply comments being resurrected? Weho is a different place and surely we know that people and opinions change. How is this happening?

JF1
JF1
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I’m on the fence as to whether or not to vote for you vs Heilman or Duran but to say that you’re more worried about developers then you are about unite here gives me great concern.

Ty Geltmaker, Ph.D. (Historian)
Ty Geltmaker, Ph.D. (Historian)
3 years ago

So now, in addition to West Hollywood being home to an aging population of terminally wounded gay people we are supposed to fall in with an anti-union front given prominence without full identification in WeHoville? So much for the progressive city. And what was WeHoville thinking, publishing this fluff piece of propaganda easily uncovered by serious research?

Former Staff
3 years ago

WEHOville publishes, and actually solicits the submission of, opinion pieces from all sides of an issue (even those that criticize WEHOville and those we strongly disagree with.) The writer of this op-ed about Unite Here Local 11 was identified, as all authors are.

Maria
Maria
3 years ago

What a homophobic comment. Interesting as well because UnitedHereToo is famously homophobic toward any gay people who don’t fit into its narrow box of “helpless victims.” It’s to a real Union what Scientology is to a great religion: a cult propaganda money making machine posing as something else.

Ty Geltmaker, Ph.D. (Historian)
Ty Geltmaker, Ph.D. (Historian)
3 years ago
Reply to  Maria

Dear Maria (whomever you may be since no surname is given) — For the record: My partner and I have been together 39 years (since our 20s) always involved in LGBTQ/feminist issues as activists in Italy and USA (ACT UP/LA, Queer Nation/LA, the latter “founded” in our Silver Lake backyard) as well as anti-Vietnam War and U.S. Central American interventions. I’m also the author (published Italian historical monograph on suicide and reviews incorporating gay critiques, along with frequent letters published in the Gay & Lesbian Review). Check out my twice published article as noted here below, the “Queers in Space”… Read more »

Ham
Ham
2 months ago

LOL. This site is always a good laugh.

Pat Dixon
Pat Dixon
3 years ago

Interesting article and comments. I became suspicious a few weeks before the election when I received a glossy campaign card with photos of Lauren, Lindsey and Sepi with a big check next to each name and a photo of John D’Amico with a big X. I couldn’t figure out who this group sending out the card was. Then I found out from many friends that they received phone calls not only endorsing the three women but castigating John D’Amico vehemently, and I was even more surprised. I smelled a rat but didn’t know who it was because Lindsey, Lauren and… Read more »

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