Friday, March 28, 2014

La Playa Carmel Demonstrations Continue in 2014

The fight for justice for the former La Playa workers has extended into 2014, as monthly labor rallies continue to be held at the Carmel-by-the-Sea area hotel, and the word "fight" is not an overstatement.

The Union has Vowed to Fight for Years if Necessary

Workers have now gone two years without a union contract at La Playa Carmel. In the Fall of 2011 the hotel and restaurant were closed for remodeling and the staff was laid off. This effectively ended the union's representation of the workers there. Over half of the 113 former workers at La Playa had worked there for 20 years or more. They were members of Unite Here Local 483, the labor union that represents hotel, restaurant, and other hospitality workers in the Monterey Bay area, and a union contract had been held at La Playa for the prior 40 years.

After first demanding the workers be rehired, the union asked that the formers workers be guaranteed first right of refusal for any jobs that opened up at the hotel. Only three of the former workers were rehired. Most of the former workers who applied for jobs after the re-modeling was completed were not called back for interviews.

As a result, Unite Here has vowed to protest at the hotel for years to come.

The Hotel Management and Carmel Police Fight Back

One on one, management is cordial to the people who attend the rallies, and they can often be heard explaining to hotel guests that it is the first amendment right of demonstrators to hold rallies there. La Playa's staff continues to surveil the group through the use of sound level meters, however, and the Carmel police continue to be called.

There have been over three dozen protests at the hotel since 2011, and the police have exited their vehicles and officially "visited" the rallies over a dozen times.

One arrest has been made over the course of the two and a half years of La Playa rallies, but the individual who was arrested has said that no evidence that he was breaking any laws was provided by the District Attorney, and the charges were dismissed.

Fresh Faces Fuel the Labor Coalition's Growth

Workers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium have been attending the La Playa rallies for several months now. They have organized themselves at two of the aquarium's facilities, and they are now represented by Unite Here.

Local 483 represents over 1,300 hospitality workers on the Monterey Bay at more than three dozen hotels, restaurants, and golf courses, and Unite Here members from a variety of Monterey County establishments add to the attendance at the La Playa rallies.

Additionally, more than two dozen members of other labor unions have participated, as have 20 elected officials, and official representatives of over 20 local community groups.

Photos are from the rally at La Playa Carmel on February 28, 2014

Hotel guests arrive during a rally

Police officer listening to a noise complaint

Two officers arrived at the rally on February 28

Hotel management with a sound level meter

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