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Regional news: NLRB finds Waikiki Hotel discriminated against employees, bargained in bad faith; orders reinstatement, bargaining, and payment of union's bargaining expenses

The National Labor Relations Board, in a 3-0 decision issued on Tuesday, found that the Pacific Beach Hotel (HTH Corp.), violated the National Labor Relations Act in numerous respects--the latest episode in a 10-year effort by the Longshore Workers Union to secure a collective bargaining agreement for approximately 500 employees at the prominent Waikiki lodging. 

The case dates back to 2002, when Local 142 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) sought to organize about 565 Hotel staff members.  Results of the initial election, which the union lost, were set aside by the Board because of objectionable conduct by the Hotel.  The ILWU prevailed in a second election, held in 2004.  However despite dozens of negotiating sessions, the two sides failed to reach agreement on a contract.

In September 2009, following a 13-day hearing, a NLRB Administrative Law Judge ruled that the Hotel had committed numerous unfair labor practices against the Union over the intervening years.  This prompted a request for an injunction in the United States District Court for Hawaii, which in March 2010 ordered the Hotel to recognize the Union, bargain in good faith for a contract, and reinstate five union activists who had been fired.  Additionally, the court ordered the parties to resume bargaining from the point where negotiates had broken off and to have Hotel managers read the court’s order to all employees.

The federal court case has continued as the NLRB has alleged that the Hotel and its principal manager have failed to comply with the court’s 2010 order.

Tuesday’s order requires the Hotel to offer reinstatement to a number of employees, resume bargaining, and make employees whole for their losses.  In addition, in a relatively rare move, the Board directed the Hotel to reimburse the Union for its negotiating expenses and to have a responsible corporate official publicly read a remedial notice to employees.

Commenting on the Board’s order, NLRB Hawaii Officer-in-Charge Tom Cestare said, “This order is the latest step in what has regrettably become a war of attrition against an employer that appears to be determined to thwart the employees’ legitimate rights to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.  We remain steadfast in our resolve to see this case through to a just conclusion.”

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