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Pacific Beach Hotel violated U.S. labor law, agency rules

The hotel is ordered to reinstate workers and pay back wages and union expenses

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 2:26 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Pacific Beach Hotel management is reviewing its legal options in the wake of a recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board that found the hotel violated numerous provisions of federal labor law.

"We don't want to make a quick decision," said Mick Minicola, vice president of operations for Pacific Beach Corp. "We are reviewing the decision and our legal options, which may involve some of the earlier NLRB charges that were filed from our side."

The board ruled that the hotel discriminated against employees and that it bargained in bad faith with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 142, which first filed a petition for recognition in 2002.

"This was a great victory," said Tom Cestare, NLRB Hawaii-officer-In-charge. "The remedies that they imposed are very harsh. It's a broad order that provides for reinstatement of jobs, back pay and legal fees."

The NLRB, a federal agency that investigates unfair labor practices, upheld most provisions that were outlined in an earlier decision by Administrative Law Judge James M. Kennedy, including ordering the company to reinstate seven workers and bargaining committee members who said they were wrongfully terminated. The board also imposed new remedies, such as ordering Pacific Beach to pay the union's bargaining expenses, which went beyond the recommendations made by the initial Judge.

"This case represents the latest chapter in the Respondents' ongoing efforts to impede the rights of employees of the Pacific Beach Hotel to select and be represented by International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 142," the national board wrote in its decision.

Dave Mori, a spokesman for ILWU, said the decision reaffirms the rights of Pacific Beach Hotel workers, who have been locked in a 10-year-struggle with management. However, the legal battle continues, Mori said.

The union and the NLRB are seeking enforcement of this latest order from the 9th Circuit Court, he said. They are also awaiting a decision from an administrative law judge regarding additional NLRB unfair labor practice charges that were made subsequent to Kennedy's ruling.

"They again refused to bargain with the union, they banned two union representatives for life from the hotel, they unilaterally increased employee workload, they eliminated the 401(k) and they again terminated Randy Villanova, one of the employees that Judge Kennedy ordered them to reinstate," Cestare said.

Meanwhile, the union and the hotel will return to the bargaining table today, Minicola said.

"We are still negotiating with the ILWU," he said. "We've been doing that since last year."

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