Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: Fired Ontario hotel workers file unfair labor charges against DoubleTree

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

From the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

by Neil Nisperos

In an unprecedented move, four subcontracted housekeepers who were fired have filed unfair labor practice allegations against the DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport, owned by the Blackstone Group.

It is the first effort by California temporary agency workers in the hospitality industry to hold a joint employer accountable under a new ruling from the National Labor Relations Board.

“We wear the same uniforms, have the same supervisors, and eat in the same cafeteria. We also suffer under harsh working conditions,” said Maria Sanchez, one of the subcontracted housekeepers fired from the DoubleTree by Hilton. “I’m proud that I filed these charges today and am standing up for my rights under federal law.”

The four housekeepers filed the charges on Monday with Region 21 of the NLRB, alleging that the DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport violated federal labor law by firing them for engaging in protected organizing activities.

Complaints arose a year ago from workers over increased room-cleaning quotas, according to Manuel Roman, organizing director for Unite Here! Local 11, a hospitality workers union serving the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange county region.

“I think that companies like Hilton for many years have gotten around not taking responsibility for their working conditions by using temp agencies, of which the Inland Empire has many,” Roman said. “What this does now is it says Hilton, you cannot hide behind third-party contractors. You must take responsibility for working conditions in your hotels.”

Roman said the workers had sought help from the 20,000 member-strong union and then were fired by their employer, an Inglewood-based staffing agency called Pro Clean.

The staffing agency could not be immediately contacted. In response to a call for comment, Bassam Shahin, general manager of the hotel, said, “The Doubletree Ontario Airport Hotel complies with all local and federal labor laws and is an equal opportunity employer. The hotel is committed to providing a positive and supportive environment for all of its employees.”

Roman said the filing is historic. The union and the workers, he said, hope the hotel company does “the right thing in bringing these workers back and stop the abuses that are being committed by their staffing agencies.”

Read the full article from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.