October 20, 2011
After months of protesting the sale of La Playa Hotel without a union contract guaranteeing that new ownership would commit to keeping the existing workforce, the hotel is in escrow without such a commitment. "This is shocking news to La Playa Hotel workers," Mark Weller, Unite Here Local 483's project coordinator, said in a statement.
The deal is expected to close Nov. 1, and the prospective owner, Classic Hotels & Resorts (a subsidiary of Phoenix-based Grossman Company Properties), is expected to embark immediately on renovations, according to a source who would speak only anonymously because of labor negotiations. Prior to the closing, Classic Hotels is not making statements to the media. The outgoing owner, John Cope of Nob Hill Properties in Marin County, did not return calls for this story.
In an interview last month, Cope said, "I can only be the best employer that I can be under my watch. I can’t guarantee everybody’s lives after that." He also said contract negotiations had come to a halt because the union refused to negotiate without a successorship clause. Cope owned the hotel for nearly 30 years.
Even before the deal with Classic Hotels & Resorts, Cope had notified 122 workers under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that their jobs could be eliminated pending the sale.
The union's shifted its demands from asking Cope for a successorship clause (which would've guaranteed new ownership keep them on staff) to requesting first rights to be rehired after renovations are complete, and also a fair severance package.
A rally is planned for 1pm today at Camino Real and 8th Ave. Union representatives expect Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel) to join them.