Boycott the Monterey Bay Travelodge!
Workers ratify Hyatt agreement
2010-07-30. Monterey County Herald
Workers at the Hyatt Regency Monterey and Highlands Inn on Wednesday approved a five-year contract with a wage freeze for 18 months, then raises totaling $5.21 an hour in wages and benefits for the next 3½ years.
Leonard O'Neill, chief officer for Unite Here Local 483, said it's the first contract he's negotiated with a wage freeze, but with the increases coming later, also the best contract he has worked out.
The union's 400 workers at the hotels received a $1-an-hour raise a year ago. O'Neill said the workers recognized the tough economic times in taking the freeze.
The hotel wanted workers in its own health plan, but agreed to continue paying for workers to stay in the union plan, O'Neill said. The union plan is more advantageous for seasonal workers.
Cesar Chavez Day Action Stars
2010-04-07. Monterey County Herald
Unite Here Local 483, the union representing 1,300 hospitality workers in the Monterey Bay area, recognized 15 of its members as Cesar Chavez Day Action Stars last week for their actions in support of workers in places outside of their own hotel.
Honored were Bertrand Deprez (Lodge at Pebble Beach), Noe Hinojosa (La Playa Hotel), James Hood (Highlands Inn), Antonia Ihnot (La Playa Hotel), Alberto Navarro (Hyatt Regency), Jose Nicasio (Hyatt Regency), Carlos Pat (Lodge at Pebble Beach), Jose Perez (Asilomar), Maria Eva Rangel (Hilton), Devora Rodriguez (Carmel Mission Inn), Oscar Rosa (Bay Park Hotel), Maria Santos (Hilton), Chuck Smith (Asilomar), Ricardo Sotelo (Hyatt Regency) and Jing Wright (Hyatt Regency).
Report on bedbugs at Monterey Bay Travelodge.
Labor makes gains, faces stiff resistance
2009-09-07. Monterey County Herald
By STEVE BRADY
Updated: 09/07/2009 01:29:52 AM PDT
Today marks the 116th celebration of Labor Day in the United States. In the rest of the civilized world, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1, commemorating the American martyrs of the 1886 Haymarket riot. Strangely, in this "land by horror haunted," Labor Day commemorates the death of summer. Whereas it used to herald the start of school and football, nowadays, with global warming, it just interrupts both in their third week.
Sadly, this Labor Day, union busting is alive and well at the Monterey Bay Travelodge. Union busting, a.k.a. strikebreaking, has a long and bloody tradition from Pinkertons and Chicago police beating and killing strikers at Haymarket, to the San Francisco Police Department beating and killing workers during the longshoreman's strike of '34.
Despite occasional respites, labor has had a hard time in our country. For instance, in Watsonville, in the late '90s, the strawberry growers vainly attempted to defeat the UFW with a company union, and we in Monterey County all know of the screening policies of Wal-Mart and the Marriot Corp.
In the old days, police and military thugs used clubs to try to crush the labor movement. Nowadays, lawyers beat down organized labor by election tampering, company unions, and disinformation campaigns, rather like the Astro-turfers are doing in the health-care crisis.
During the Monterey hotel workers strike of '82, the owners formed a coalition to hire a protege of Pinkerton, known as Littler Mendelson, the Blackhawk of union busters. The Littler law firm had been in business only 40 years at that time, but early on had a notorious reputation for fighting against workers' rights, social justice and civil rights. According to their Web site, www.littler.com, they're proud of it!
Littler did its best to defeat H.E.R.E., but the strike ended with major concessions that the workers still enjoy today. Except at the Monterey Bay Travelodge.
I hope I don't start a big tzimmes by bringing this up, but, in 2004, the Travelodge's absentee owner cut pension and insurance benefits, froze wages and cut the lunch break for 13 wise Latina housekeepers (kind of like Sonja Sotomayor and Hilda Solis). Not so incidentally, for years the owner has employed Littler while using city and private police to intimidate picketers and organizers ...
Steve Brady lives in Watsonville and works at a unionized Monterey hotel.
Support Employee Free Choice Act
2009-07-13. Monterey County Herald
Our Monterey County Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. During difficult times like these, it feels great to see our elected leaders beginning to stick up for working people. It hasn't been that way in recent decades ... I have been involved in union organizing campaigns at three hotels in Monterey County where a majority of workers had signed cards saying they wanted a union but were thwarted by employer intimidation, years of court battles or an unfair election process.
Since over half of Monterey County working adults earn less than the poverty level, according to the California Budget Project, we must find a way to fix our broken economy. Like many immigrants, I struggled to get by when I first moved to this great country. When I got a dish washing job 24 years ago at a unionized hotel in the area, I finally found the economic security to earn enough for safe housing and good health insurance for my family. Now, two of my children are in college—something I never imagined when I first came to the Monterey Peninsula. And that, I realize, may not have happened without my union job.
Monterey Bay Travelodge Protest--Video
2008-12-18. KION CB@ 46 and KCBA Fox 35
The Monterey community held a rally Thursday evening to support hotel workers at the Monterey Bay Travelodge. It's been a four year battle between hotel workers and the owner who has refused to sign a union contract and has denied his employees a health insurance plan. Employees say Kilsoo Seo froze hourly wages at $8.84 back in 2004. Protestors say they hope Thursday rally will help encourage Seo to do the right thing.
Union to Picket Travelodge
2008-12-18. Monterey County Herald
The union representing Monterey Bay's hotel workers plans to picket the Monterey Bay Travelodge from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. today to mark the fourth year of its boycott with the AFL-CIO against the hotel.
Members of Unite Here Local 483, the hotel's 13 housekeeping employees and supporters, will form a picket line in front of the Travelodge, 2030 N. Fremont St., and bring holiday food and gift baskets for the Travelodge workers.
The hotel's workers have been working without a contract since their previous contract expired in Jan. 1, 2004, when owner Kilsoo Seo of Bethel, Ala., eliminated contributions to the employee health insurance and pension plans, while freezing hourly wages at $8.84 back in October 2004.
New face on the Board
2008-06-12. Monterey County Weekly
"... Jane Parker came right back to our office,” says Local 483’s Mark Weller, whose union represents hotel and restaurant employees. “And even before that, she joined us on the Travelodge picket line.”
2008-04-03. Monterey Bay Bulletin
New guests to the Monterey Bay Travelodge may be caught by surprise by what Monterey residents have endured for months: junkyard conditions at the hotel at 2030 North Fairmont Street.
The junk—apparently discarded mattresses and rolls of old carpet and upholstery—has taken over several large sections of the Travelodge parking lot, as shown in photographs in the April 2008 Monterey Bay Bulletin. Some of the garbage has been sitting directly in front of rooms.
See photos by clicking here globals.unitehere.org/media/bmbt/traveler/traveler_15.pdf
April 25, 2008 Update: The old carpet and upholstery rolls have been moved to other parts of the hotel’s parking lots and the old mattresses appear to have been removed, since we posted the material above and linked here:
Unions back Travelodge employees
2007-11-29. Monterey County Herald
Union members and supporters rallied Wednesday in support of Monterey Bay Travelodge employees who have been without a union contract for the past three years.
The demonstration, in protest against an owner who also eliminated his employees' health insurance and pension plans, was organized by UNITEHERE! Local 483. It marked the third year of a national UNITEHERE and AFL-CIO boycott of the Monterey Bay Travelodge, at 2030 N. Fremont St., owned by Kilsoo Seo of Bethel, Alaska. Participants in the rally will also bring holiday food and gift baskets for the Travelodge workers.
The protest included a picket and candlelight vigil, along with the donation of holiday food and gift baskets for the 12 housekeepers and one maintenance worker whose contract expired Dec. 31, 2003. Local 483 Secretary-Treasurer Leonard O'Neill said Seo eliminated contributions to the employee health insurance and pension plans, while freezing hourly wages at $8.84 in October 2004.
The hotel's housekeeping employees and UNITE HERE Local 483 members voted for a boycott Nov. 18, 2004. The hotel is the only one of 15 union Monterey Bay hotels operating under an expired contract. Negotiations between Seo and the union ended in July 2004.
3 years into Travelodge boycott, still no contract for motel workers
2007-11-21. Monterey County Weekly
Despite a four-year fight for a new union contract at the Monterey Bay Travelodge, housekeeper Juana Enriquez says she is not ready back down. Enriquez is the union shop steward for UNITE HERE Local 483 and a 16-year Travelodge employee. Despite her seniority, Enriquez earns barely above the state’s minimum wage.
Kilsoo Seo, the motel's owner, has frozen Enriquez’s wages and those of 11 other housekeepers at $8.84 an hour. Seo also took away the workers' health insurance and pension plans in 2004.
“He wants us to quit,” Enriquez says. “It's not going to happen. We are fighting until the end.”
On Nov. 28 union members across the county will rally in front of the motel to commemorate the third anniversary of a national boycott of the Travelodge. Seo has refused to negotiate a new contract, union officials say, even after more than 100 demonstrations and a confrontation with union staff at his business in Alaska.
Carmel Mission Inn workers approve pact
2007-08-07. Monterey County Herald
... Of the 16 union hotels in the Monterey Bay area, only the Monterey Bay Travelodge, under a national UNITEHERE and AFL-CIO boycott since 2004, is operating with an expired contract.
Monterey Bay Travelodge: Price-Gouger
The Monterey Bay Travelodge charged nearly three times its usual room rates during the recent MotoGP weekend, according to the motel’s own reservation website. The Travelodge, owned by Kilsoo Seo, advertised rates of $319 for a one-bed room on Saturday, July 21, 2007, while charging $109 for the same room on July 23. The listed price on subsequent Saturday’s, including August 11 and September 1, was $129 (downloaded on July 17, 2007).
Such extraordinary price increases by motels like the Travelodge are a deep concern of area community leaders. The Monterey County Herald (7/17/07 & 7/23/07) reports that price-gouging by area hotels and motels could threaten the future of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix motorcycle in Monterey—the event John McMahon, president and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau describes as “probably one of the most revenue-generating weekends of the entire year."
The Herald writes, “For months, race fans from around the country and outside of the U.S. buzzed ... about exorbitant hotel rates, about canceled room reservations, about whether a return trip to Monterey would be worth their while …[J]ust how area lodgings will handle those fans — and their dollars — is an issue that could affect the event's presence in Monterey, said Gill Campbell, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca chief executive officer.”
The Herald report points with particular concern to motels charging $300 or more a night over the busy race weekend. Monterey Peninsula Reservations owner, Donna Ibens is quoted, "The prices are scaring people a bit. I've had a lot of calls and they don't want to pay $300 a night." Susanna Schick, a race fan interviewed by the Herald, is “fed up” with “unfair pricing” and says “a $300 motel room is out of line.”
CSU-Monterey cafeteria workers join union
2007-04-10. Monterey County Herald
Cafeteria workers at Cal State University Monterey Bay, have joined the local hotel and restaurant workers' union, UNITEHERE Local 483. <> The 40 workers are employees of Maryland-based Sodexho USA, which has recognized the union and has agreed to contract bargaining at the beginning of May. Sodexho USA has scheduled contract negotiations with the union bargaining committee on May 2-3.
2006-09-07. Monterey County Weekly
A long line of people in red shirts snaked their way along the road towards the Hyatt Regency of Monterey last Thursday evening during a labor march that appeared at the time to be a prelude to a strike.
Nearly 600 people, ... participated in the march, which slowed traffic for nearly an hour on Mark Thomas Drive.
The action was the largest labor march in Monterey history ... Marchers chanted and carried signs as they walked in single file along the sidewalk—not the street—from behind the Monterey Travelodge up Fairgrounds Boulevard and to Mark Thomas Drive until they reached the Hyatt Regency.
The Big Pinch
2006-08-31. Monterey County Weekly
On Thursday, Aug. 31, Unite Here will hold a march organizers hope will be the largest labor march in Monterey history. De Vera says they expect participation from other local union members like SEIU, Teamsters and teachers' unions.
Hotel workers to rally
2006-08-31. Monterey County Herald
The union is planning a rally behind the Monterey Bay Travelodge east of the corner of Fairgrounds and Garden roads at 4:30 p.m., followed by the march to the Hilton Garden Inn and ending at the Hyatt Regency, where a second rally is scheduled.
TV News: Armed Robbery of Travelodge
2006-08-24. KION TV 46
Travelodge Armed Robbery
2006-08-23. City of Monterey Police Department
On August 23, 2006 at 1:16 A.M., Monterey Police Officers were dispatched to the Travelodge, 2030 North Fremont in reference to an armed robbery that had just occurred. Officers arrived within minutes but were unable to locate the suspects. The suspects, wearing dark clothing and ski masks, confronted the lone employee at the front desk and demanded money. One of the suspects brandished a chrome semi automatic handgun. The suspects left the business with an undisclosed amount of money from the register.
Area's hospitality workers barely eke out a living
2006-07-09. Monterey County Herald
... More and more, hospitality workers face heart-wrenching decisions. For example, Juana Enriquez, a pregnant housekeeper at the Monterey Bay Travelodge, where the workers have no health insurance, has had to forgo expensive doctor visits.
Hospitality industry could be headed for a summer showdown
2006-03-28. Travel Weekly
What has unfolded outside [the] Monterey Bay Travelodge, day in and day out for almost two years, is a job action that hotels, convention and visitors bureaus and other players in the U.S. tourism industry fear could blemish their own economic landscapes in the months ahead ...
Unite Here’s two top executives, Bruce Raynor and John Wilhelm, joined protesters outside the Monterey Bay Travelodge last year. As many as 2,400 citizen supporters have walked the picket lines over the past 17 months, helping to keep the protests and boycott alive. Even though the Travelodge is a small hotel with only a handful of workers, the union’s fight has been relentless.
Reorganizing labor priorities
2006-02-23. Monterey County Weekly
... Leonard O’Neill, secretary-treasurer for UNITE HERE Local 483 in Monterey County, acknowledges that the contract renegotiations represent the first big test for their union—and for labor in general—after they and other labor unions underwent a well-publicized split from the AFL-CIO last summer.
“This is one of the projects that the new coalition, Change to Win, is adopting,” O’Neill says. “Basically, they recognize that manufacturing jobs and textile mills that used to provide a decent living are gone. So we want to turn hospitality jobs—which can’t be outsourced—into middle-class jobs with middle-class wages.”
Workers continue hotel picketing
2006-01-27. Monterey County Herald
Outside the Monterey Bay Travelodge at 2030 N. Fremont St. in Monterey, the protest continues. It was more than two years ago that the hotel employees' labor contract expired. Since then, say members of Local 483 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union, the hotel's owner, Kilsoo Seo of Bethel, Alaska, has cut employees' health benefits and employer pension fund contributions and failed to negotiate a new contract ... Affected are the hotel's 13 employees who have been working for 16 months without health insurance for themselves or family members. One of those is 38-year-old housekeeper Aurora Enriquez of Seaside, who earns $8.84 an hour. "I haven't taken (my children) to the doctor," Enriquez said in Spanish. "If we're sick, we stick it out."
2005-12-22. Monterey County Weekly
... Last year, after Seo froze hotel housekeepers’ wages and axed their health insurance, the Biz District named Seo and the Travelodge as the winner of the third annual North Fremont Business District holiday decorating contest. And now, a year later, the Travelodge has won the annual contest yet again. Ebenezer Scrooge would be so proud ....
Travelodge workers rally against contract
2005-08-18. Monterey County Herald
Monterey Bay Travelodge employees staged a rally Wednesday to protest the hotel owner's proposed contract. The rally marked more than one year since the protests began ....
Unions will carry on despite break from AFL-CIO
2005-07-31. Monterey County Herald
... we will rally with our union brothers and sisters when there are strikes or work actions, or injustices at their work sites such as Travelodge in Monterey ...
Our Readers' Heroes
2005-06-30. Monterey County Weekly
Juana Enriquez, leader of the fight for justice at the Monterey Bay Travelodge and the 27th Assembly District Woman of the Year, is one of those “ordinary folks who simply decided to do something good, and then worked very hard to make sure it happened.”
Party Pooper [Travelodge built toilet without permit]
2005-06-09. Monterey County Weekly
Let Squid be the first to admit it: Squid’s a clean freak. Which is probably why Squid prefers the new loo at the Monterey Bay TRAVELODGE to the open ocean ... Or rather, Squid did prefer the new, clean bathroom off the lobby at the Travelodge, until a self-described “PATRIOTIC SNITCH” called the City of Monterey’s Building Inspections Department and reported the hotel for its permit-less bathroom. Sadly, the illegal toilet’s gone, now, thanks to said snitch.
Charges settled with Travelodge owner
2005-06-01. Monterey County Herald
Local 483 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union filed charges last month with the relations board against the hotel's owner, Kilsoo Seo, for allegedly threatening to fire an employee if she continued to speak publicly about an ongoing labor dispute and for allegedly saying he would close the hotel if employees continued to hold protest rallies. The labor board settled the charges with the hotel last week, according to the union.
California union files charges against Bethel businessman
2005-05-26. Tundra Drums
A California union representing hotel workers at a
Travelodge hotel owned by Kilsoo Seo, of Bethel, has filed charges against him with the National Labor Relations Board.
Hotel Dispute Heats Up
2005-05-19. Monterey County Herald
... Local 483 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union has filed charges with the relations board against Seo for allegedly threatening to fire an employee if she continued to speak publicly about the dispute and that he would close the hotel if employees continued to hold protest rallies.
Activist Juana Enriquez shows true grit
2005-04-24. Monterey County Herald
There's a new entry on the list of people I most admire. It's Juana Enriquez. She is: single-handedly rearing an almost-3-year-old boy; works full time during the day and another job at night; is paying a mortgage; and, if that's not enough, she is heading a coalition of fellow motel employees to reinstate their health care insurance and benefits.
And one more thing: she's a Mexican immigrant who emigrated to the United States 14 years ago, learned English and how to drive a car.
The woman has grit.
Hotel, restaurant workers plan protest
2005-03-31. Monterey County Herald
Local 483 of UNITE HERE, which includes the Hospitality Employees and Restaurant Employees union, today will honor Cesar Chavez Day with a picket in front of Monterey Bay Travelodge, protesting a proposed contract by owner Kilsoo Seo.
SquidFry (on Juana Enriquez)
2005-03-24. Monterey County Weekly
The story reported that Democratic Assemblyman John Laird named Seaside resident Juana Enriquez as Woman of the Year for the 27th Assembly District. Enriquez, who is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, emigrated to the US 14 years ago. A year later, she began working as a housekeeper at the Monterey Bay Travelodge, on North Fremont in Monterey.
Enriquez has also been a leader in an ongoing struggle on behalf of her union, UNITE HERE Local 483.
Seaside Worker Named Local Woman of the Year
After moving from Oaxaca, Mexico, almost 14 years ago, Juana Enriquez made her way to Sacramento for the first time Monday when she was named Woman of the Year for the 27th District by Assemblyman John Laird.
Enriquez has been a leader in a UNITE HERE Local 483 contract dispute at the Monterey Bay Travelodge in Monterey, where she works as a housekeeper.
Immigrant named Woman of the Year
2005-03-16. Monterey County Herald
Assemblyman John Laird has named Juana Enriquez as Woman of the Year for the 27th Assembly District ... "Juana Enriquez is an inspiring leader in the ongoing struggle with the Monterey Bay Travelodge for fair health-care coverage," said Laird, D-Santa Cruz. "Juana brings to the fight a unique combination of grit, solidarity and humanity."
Union officers to join protest at motel
2005-03-16. Montreey County Herald
Unite Here union officers today will join Monterey Bay Travelodge employees in a protest over a proposed contract by owner Kilsoo Seo ... Joining them will be Unite Here International Presidents Bruce Raynor and John Wilhelm.
Seo’s California hotel faces boycott
2005-01-06. The Tundra Drums
Workers at a California hotel owned by Bethel businessman Kilsoo Seo are calling for hotel guests to stay elsewhere. With picket signs, Web sites and rallies, employees of the Monterey Bay Travelodge and the union they belong to hope to put pressure on Seo to change his tune about the union contract.
The boycott, which began on Nov. 18 and continues this week, is in response to what employees and Unite Here Local 483 union officials say are unfair labor practices and an attempt to make more money at the expense of employee benefits.
2004-12-16. Monterey County Weekly
... Who were these grinches, raining on Squid’s holiday parade, and why weren’t they feeling merry and bright during this most wonderful time of year? They were hotel housekeepers and laundresses and other employees of the jolly establishment, protesting the fact that their wages are frozen at $8.84 an hour, and that Travelodge owner Kilsoo Seo recently axed their health insurance. C’mon, guys, where’s your holiday cheer?
Travelodge settles charges with union
2004-11-24. Monterey County Herald
Charges filed against Monterey Bay Travelodge with the National Labor Relations Board for prohibiting its employees from distributing union pamphlets during an August protest have been settled.
Hotel Faces Boycott
2004-11-24. Monterey County Weekly
Tears pour down Juana Enriquez’s cheeks as she pleads her case for health insurance. Speaking through a megaphone on a sidewalk on Monterey’s North Fremont Street, in front of the Travelodge motel near the Monterey County Fairgrounds, Enriquez, 38, stands surrounded by about 70 fellow union workers—teachers, service employees and grocery clerks, but mostly hotel housekeepers and laundresses from the other Peninsula hotels like the Highlands, the Hyatt and the Hilton.
Motel housekeepers call for boycott
2004-11-17. Monterey County Herald
Continuing their months-long protest against Monterey Bay Travelodge, 13 housekeepers will rally Thursday in front of the property and call for a boycott.
Workers protest over insurance
2004-10-01. Monterey County Herald
Monterey Bay Travelodge employees marched Thursday in front of the motel, protesting owner Kilsoo Seo's announced plans to eliminate their health insurance effective today.
An old-fashioned Labor Day on the Central Coast
... Another sign of the times are the weekly pickets led by hotel workers that continue at the Monterey Fairgrounds Travelodge, where the company's "last best offer" proposes to freeze pay and abolish health care coverage for all employees. As members of more and more unions and community groups gather in support of the hotel workers, "solidarity power" is growing on the Monterey Peninsula.
Hotel Employees Protest
2004-08-19. Monterey County Herald
... The employees of Monterey Fairgrounds Travelodge, members of Local 483 of UNITE HERE, were supported by more than two dozen other hotel workers and union members. The union is protesting owner Kilsoo Seo's final contract offer to a dozen housekeepers, which includes the elimination of employer health insurance and pension fund contributions.
Asilomar employees sign new contract
2004-06-30. Monterey County Herald
... Of the 14 union hotels in the area, only the Monterey Fairgrounds Travelodge is operating under an expired contract, according to the union.
Disabled man sues stores, hotels
2003-04-04. Monterey Herald
... Kilsoo Seo, owner of the Monterey Travelodge on North Fremont, said he wasn't certain whether his motel had been sued because he hadn't received any legal papers. He said he did receive a partial copy of a complaint but wasn't sure of the plaintiff's name.