NYC hotel employees file union complaint

Michael P. Tremoglie Jan. 24, 2012, 1:30pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Three employees of a New York City Marriott hotel have filed multiple complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against their employer and organizers of New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council Local 6 Union.

They are alleging that the organizers verbally abused Marriott workers and spied on them in changing rooms after obtaining permission by the company.

The three Courtyard Marriott employees filed the charges Jan. 12 with the National Labor Relations Board regional office in New York City. The employees were provided with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation.

According to the complaint of Laura Rodriguez, she and her co-workers "have themselves engaged in protected, concerted activity by opposing union representation in their workplace. As a result of their desire to oppose the union, union representatives have subjected charging party and other co-Workers to systematic harassment, including but not limited to: video surveillance in changing room areas, invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, accessing employee lockers, handling employees' personal possessions, lodging false allegations with the employer concerning dealings with workers who do not support the union. The false allegations have led to illegal employee interrogation and discipline by the employer of the employees who have opposed the organizing campaign."

Rodriguez specifies in her complaint that "on or around December 15, 2011, representatives of the Union stealthily approached her "while she was changing out of her uniform into street clothes in an employee changing area." The union representatives then took pictures of her "in various stages of undress."

When Ms. Rodriguez objected to the union agents' presence in the changing area and taking pictures, the union representatives told her, "We are allowed to be here."

The NRWF said in a written statement that union organizers had arranged with hotel management for unfettered access to the employees in order to install a union in the workplace. The workers unanimously signed a petition showing that they do not support the union's presence in the workplace. Moreover, company and union officials retaliated against workers expressing their right to refrain from union affiliation.

Workers were interrogated and disciplined by management according to the NRWF.

"The employees were also denied the use of the break room because the management thought it would be a venue to discuss anti-union activities," said Matt Muggeridge, the NRWF attorney representing the employees.

According to the complaint of Coralina Alcantara while being interrogated by hotel management she and her coworkers were ordered by the "employer's legal counsel ... to stop any and all conduct related to union opposition."

"Union and company officials have colluded to force the union bosses' so-called 'representation' on these workers," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "Marriott workers are being subjected to a vicious campaign of intimidation -- including sexual harassment -- at the hands of forced-dues hungry union bosses and with the approval of weak-kneed company officials."

The employees want -- along with other appropriate remedies - "immediate cessation to the workplace harassment by union organizers; interrogation of employees by the employer; coercion of employees by the employer to discourage protected activity; and implementation of any agreement between the union and employer which promotes or tolerates the union and e1nployer's illegal conduct."

Neither the union nor the Marriott hotel responded to requests for a statement before this article went to press.

A union spokesman, John Turchiano, disputed the allegations in the Tuesday edition of the New York Post. He said they were ridiculous.

"I'm 100 percent confident the (NLRB) will throw out the charges. Any of our hundreds of members who know the organizers involved here know how absurd these charges are,'' Mr. Turchiano said.

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