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La Playa Hotel Boycott Rallies Continue Through Summer in Carmel
On August 23, approximately 50 community members participated in another of the long series of boycott demonstrations held at La Playa Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea this summer. In addition to the afternoon marches and picket lines, which have been the norm for the events organized by Unite Here Local 483, early morning pickets have also been held recently. Hotel workers and their union representatives are demanding the former La Playa employees be hired back as the hotel still has only rehired 3 of the 113 former workers who lost their jobs when the hotel was purchased, remodeled, and re-opened by multi-millionaire Sam Grossman. Announced at the rally were additional demonstrations planned for La Playa on August 31 at 8am and on September 6 at 5pm.
The union actions held at the hotel have continued to successfully penetrate the "business as usual" attitude at La Playa. During the hour long march and picket on August 23, at least one potential group of hotel guests changed their mind about staying at La Playa. A couple from Spain was driving a mini-van past the hotel, hoping to check to see if there were any vacancies, and when they encountered the large group of demonstrators in front of the lobby entrance they asked about what was going on. After receiving La Playa Boycott fliers and hearing the workers' story, they decided to look for a different hotel in Carmel, and even though Unite Here has had an ongoing labor dispute with the Pine Inn, an organizer with Local 483 suggested the couple from Spain try that Carmel hotel which was, "still a union house."
Former La Playa workers were introduced at a short rally held at the end of the hour long pickets of the hotel.
In addition, demonstrators shared the story of the Spanish couple with those who did not see it as it happened, and they also shared other stories of the effects that the La Playa actions were having. One person reported they had heard from a friend and regular customer of La Playa that the hotel and restaurant were always empty now.
Demonstrators also spoke briefly about La Playa's former bartender who was described in a recent article that appeared in the Carmel Pine Cone. "Noe" bar tended at the hotel for over 30 years and apparently many of the regular customers have been asking about him. Several of the former workers had been employed at La Playa for over 30 years and were beloved members of the Carmel community.
A variety of candidates for local public offices were thanked by the union at the rally, and two were singled out for their strong support and for turning out frequently on the picket line: Alan Haffa, who is running for a seat on the Monterey City Council, and Eric Peterson, the Green Party candidate for Congress in California's 17th District. They each spoke briefly.
Unite Here plans to hold demonstrations at La Playa Carmel indefinitely until the former workers are offered their jobs back. The next events are scheduled for August 31 at 8am and September 6 at 5pm.
For more information about the boycott of La Playa Carmel, see:
For more information about Unite Here Local 483, the labor union that has represented hotel and restaurant workers in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties since 1937, see:
Former La Playa workers were introduced; also speaking are Alan Haffa and Eric Peterson.
Alan Haffa, who is running for a seat on the Monterey City Council. See: http://electhaffa.org/
Eric Peterson, the Green Party candidate for Congress in California's 17th District. See: http://www.greeneric.org/