News of Doubletree Sale Worries Hotel Workers

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday June 27, 2006

The Doubletree Hotel at the Marina, in the process of being sold to Canadian buyers, has raised hotel workers’ concern.  

The transaction is part of an acquisition of the Boykin Lodging Company, which owns the Doubletree, by a partnership of the Toronto-based Westmont Hospitality Group and Cadim Inc. of Quebec in a cash transaction valued at about $416 million, according to Hotel Online. 

The sale is expected to be completed in 90 days, according to Mark Dean, Doubletree’s director of operations. 

The change in ownership is of concern to hotel and restaurant workers, whose contract expired at the end of 2005. (About 75 workers and supporters demonstrated at the hotel last month to press for a new contract.) In a recent negotiating session, Boykin asked Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) to extend the present contract to the new management. 

“We’re not sure who will operate the hotel,” said Mary Catherine Plunkett, HERE researcher. “The deal still has to go to the shareholders.” 

Plunkett said the union is not ready to approve a contract extension because Westmont has not agreed to real worker retention. 

“They want a 90-day probation period,” Plunkett said. “There’s no job security. They could be fired for anything at all.” 

Doubletree workers will attend tonight’s (Tuesday) City Council meeting to urge adoption of a worker-retention ordinance proposed in concept by Councilmember Kriss Worthington to make sure the new owners do not terminate current hotel staff.