Sonoma Valley Sun
Jul 27, 2023
Employees at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, a property operated by the French hotel giant Accor, traveled from Sonoma to Paris to appeal for fair treatment in meetings with the Accor CEO, French politicians and local hotel workers
Employees at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, a property operated by the French hotel giant Accor, traveled from Sonoma to Paris to appeal for fair treatment in meetings with the Accor CEO, French politicians and local hotel workers.
Workers at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn (and the Sofitel Washington DC) say their efforts to join the UNITE HERE union have been met with a “union busting” campaign of intimidation, threats, or bribes.
“We went to Paris to speak with the Accor CEO face-to-face because we’ve tried to resolve this labor dispute here in the U.S., but the people in power are not listening to us,” said Ale Santoyo, a spa worker at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. “I hope that once he hears directly from his own workers about how Accor managers have acted in the U.S., he will agree to give us a fair process to organize our union without intimidation or bribes.”
The American workers met with Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin and presented to French Accor employees who are gathered in Paris for the annual European Works Council. They also met with French politicians and the National Contact Point for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Images (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Since the Accor workers announced their intent to organize, the Sofitel Washington DC has held mandatory anti-union meetings and threatened to change the schedule of an employee who is leading the union organizing effort.
At the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, a recent investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found evidence of 43 labor law violations, including evidence that hotel management had threatened workers for engaging in union activity, illegally interrogated employees about their union activities, and illegally promised benefits to workers if they rejected the union.
This campaign included the retention of six consultants who specialize in persuading workers not to unionize. These consultants are associated with a firm whose founder has been described as “a notorious union-buster” and who is perhaps best known for his work attempting to defeat a union campaign at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.
UNITE HERE Local 2 is the hospitality workers’ union in the San Francisco Bay Area, representing over 15,000 workers at hotels, restaurants, tech cafeterias, sports stadiums, Bay Area airports, and other sites.