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Woodfin Hotel Workers Fired; Supporters Cry Foul

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday May 01, 2007

The Woodfin Suites Hotel fired 12 workers Friday, according to an East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy press statement. EBASE has helped Woodfin workers in their attempts to get Emeryville’s living wage ordinance for hotel workers enforced. 

“The firings appear to be in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the hotel’s violation of the city’s living wage law, Measure C,” the statement said. “Woodfin defied an Emeryville ordinance to keep the workers on the job until May 7, so that the city can complete an investigation of the workers’ complaints of retaliation and for back wages.” 

The hotel did not return calls for comment, but in the past told the Planet it was put in the position of being forced to keep immigrant workers in their jobs, despite the workers having Social Security numbers that the Social Security Administration says do not match their names. (EBASE organizers say the Social Security number question became an issue only after workers tried to get Measure C enforced.) 

Woodfin workers and supporters will be at tonight’s (Tuesday) Emeryville City Council meeting to urge the city to deny the hotel an operating permit until it reinstates the fired workers and pays them $200,000 in back wages, owed to them due to Measure C requirements to pay overtime wages when workers clean more than a specified amount of floor space.  

The meeting is at 7:15 p.m. at 1330 Park Ave., Emeryville.