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Federal Court Finds Waikiki Hotel in Contempt for Continuing Anti-Union Activities

In the latest round of a long-running legal battle over a union organizing campaign, a U.S. District Court has found a Waikiki hotel in civil contempt for failing to comply with an earlier court order to bargain with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 1420. 

The Nov. 29 contempt ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright (District of Hawaii), comes just a week after the judge granted a second injunction against the hotel at the Board’s request. Judge Seabright issued the first injunction in March, 2010.

The judge found HTH Corporation, Pacific Beach Corporation, and Koa Management, doing business as the Pacific Beach Hotel, and its Regional Vice President of Operations, Robert Minicola, in contempt for having violated his 2010 injunction. 

The court found that the hotel and related entities failed to act in good faith to take reasonable steps to comply with the 2010 injunction by, among other things: 1) for the second time, disciplining and firing a member of the union’s bargaining committee; 2) raising the number of rooms housekeepers must clean each day, without bargaining with the union; and 3) refusing to provide the union with information needed to bargain, including financial information to support the hotel’s claim of “poverty.” 

The court ordered the Hotel to pay backpay to the terminated bargaining committee member, and to reimburse the Board and the Union for costs and fees incurred in successfully seeking contempt sanctions. Under the order, hotel vice-president Minicola must read the contempt order aloud to a gathering of employees. “The court agrees that these steps are necessary to implement the Contempt Order and also make Hotel employees aware that (1) Respondents violated the March 29, 2010 Injunction; and (2) Respondents are held in contempt for their violations,” Judge Seabright wrote.

The conduct that formed the basis of the contempt finding also was the subject of a decision issued by NLRB Administrative Law Judge John J. McCarrick on September 13, 2011, finding that Respondents violated the National Labor Relations Act in all respects alleged.  That decision is now pending before the Board for review.  Earlier this year, the Board found that the Hotel had violated the Act in numerous respects, forming the basis for the court’s March 2010 injunction.  The Board’s order is now pending enforcement in a federal appeals court.

“We appreciate the court’s patience and diligence in bringing this recidivist employer to justice,” said NLRB Regional Director Joseph Frankl. “Today’s decision shows that a steep price is to be paid by those who willfully and continually flout judicial orders and trample on the rights of employees.”

 

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