Claremont Hotel Picket Planned for Weekend: By JAKOB SCHILLER

Friday August 27, 2004

After three years of union drives, and urging a boycott of the Claremont Hotel over stalled contract negotiations, workers, union representatives and community supporters want to send a message to the hotel this weekend that they are not going to give up. 

They plan to make that statement by walking a continuous picket in front of the hotel for 27 hours beginning Friday at 3 p.m.  

According to Claire Darby, an organizer for the Oakland-based Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) union Local 2850, workers in the hotel spa have been unsuccessfully trying for three years to get the hotel to recognize a card check agreement that would officially allow them to be part of HERE. 

Two other departments, food and beverage and room service, had contracts with HERE which expired, and have not been re-negotiated because the two sides have been unable to agree.  

“We wanted to do a big action as a way to send a message that we are not getting tired, because that has been their plan all along,” said Darby.  

In a statement released earlier this year the Claremont said it “has been prepared to negotiate a contract with the union since August of 2001,” but “the union continues to stall at the bargaining table.”  

The Claremont recently switched owners when KSL Recreation Corporation sold the hotel to CNL Hospitality Properties Inc., an Orlando-based real estate investment trust, back in February. 

According to Darby, KSL signed a temporary agreement with CNL to stay on as the property management company but that contract expires in December.  

She said the union is hopeful that before KSL’s management contract expires CNL will force them to negotiate with the union because the union expects that whatever company takes over the contract will not want to deal with the union dispute. 

The picket starts this Friday at 3 p.m. and will run until Saturday at 6 p.m. and will take place at the Ashby entrance to the Claremont.