Emeryville Council Finishes Hotel Worker Regulations

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday February 20, 2007

While Emeryville voters passed Measure C—the living wage ordinance for hotel workers—in November 2005 the City Council didn’t write the final regulations until last week, when they put into place rules on worker complaints. 

This was important to the 21 workers who had been terminated by the Woodfin Suites Hotel, then temporarily reinstated by a judge on Jan. 23. The injunction prevents the hotel from firing the workers for 90 days, while the city investigates the complaints. 

Now that the new regulations are in place, the 21 workers have filed formal complaints with the city under Measure C, according to Brooke Anderson, an organizer with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy.  

In December the 21 workers were told to leave and not return to their jobs unless they could produce new Social Security numbers. While the hotel said it was obligated to make that demand on the workers, EBASE said the move was retaliation against the workers who had been picketing and protesting the Woodfin’s refusal to comply with Measure C. (The Woodfin says they do comply with the measure.) 

Workers argue that the hotel needs to provide them with permanent job security and $160,000 in back wages—pay for cleaning extra rooms, as mandated by Measure C. 

Workers and community continue twice-weekly pickets at the hotel, Tuesdays, 4:30-7 p.m. and Saturdays 7-11 a.m.