January 27, 2012
Carmel hotel workers voted Thursday to authorize a strike for the first time in 30 years.
The La Playa Hotel closure late last year leaves just one unionized hotel in Carmel, and Pine Inn/Tally Ho workers unanimously agreed to authorize a strike, more than a year after their most recent contract expired.
The sticking point in negotiations for the 27 employees—housekeepers, front desk and maintenance workers—is a demand for health care benefits for 13 spouses and 29 children. "We're not willing to let an employer eliminate medical benefits for children and spouses," Local 483 lead negotiator Leonard O'Neill says.
“If Pine Inn had any trouble hearing us before, this vote makes it loud and clear: We are united in demanding respect and health security for our families,” union member Jose Vigil said in a statement.
The last time the union went on strike was in 1982, which lasted for 17 days at 22 area hotels and restaurants.
The union filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board in November, alleging Pine Inn management violated workers’ rights by interfering with legally protected union organizing efforts.
Pine Inn General Manager John Lloyd declined to comment on authorization of a strike. In a statement issued in November on the ongoing contract negotiations Lloyd said, "Despite its relatively small size and downtown Carmel location, the union is trying to force the Pine Inn/Tally Ho Inn to agree to the same benefits and conditions of employment as large union hotels located outside of Carmel such as Hyatt, Hilton, Monterey Beach and Pebble Beach properties."