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The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

 A union organizing drive in Sonoma is heating up. 

On Thursday night representatives of Unite-Here local 2 announced a settlement with Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and the National Labor Relations Board over allegations of illegal reprisals against staffers trying to organize.

Ted Waechter is a spokesperson for Unite Here.

“This is one of the most aggressive union busting campaigns that we’ve ever seen.”

He said management had anti-union consultants take up part-time residence at the hotel, as part of an anti-union campaign. He said such tactics typically don’t come into play until an election has been set.

“What region 20 of the NLRB found over the course of this three month investigation is that the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn has violated labor laws 43 times.”

Hotel management could not be reached. Emails to the company’s corporate communications office were not answered by airtime.

According to Waechter, of 58 allegations, the National Labor Relations Board found 43 had sufficient evidence to support a complaint, 13 lacked merit and two more need further investigation.

He said the settlement, resolving the complaints, requires management to instruct employees about their rights, provide equal time to the union should the company hold employee meetings about the drive and commit to refrain from further violations of federal labor law.

Waechter said that will give workers an equal playing field.

“We think, those requirements, those concessions from the employer mean workers have a better chance of having a democratic process.”

Weckder listed some of the allegations federal regulators found true.

“Illegal threats of reprisals against employees for engaging in union activity, illegal discrimination against a union supporter by assigning him more job duties and denying him pay offered to other workers for attending an anti-union meeting....illegally cornering employees while they were doing job duties to persuade them not to join a union."

The union’s organizing committee is set to meet in coming days to discuss possibly setting a date for a certification election.


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