Market Overview

Federal labor law complaint authorized against Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers' hotel, UNITE HERE reports


The National Labor Relations Board General Counsel has decided to authorize a complaint against the management of the Embassy Suites Irvine for an onslaught of threats and disciplines issued to workers.

The NLRB's investigation into worker complaints alleges that the following actions by hotel management violated federal labor law:

  • ALL of the threats of discipline or termination by supervisors against workers for wearing union buttons.
  • ALL of the more than 40 disciplines issued to workers for wearing union buttons.
  • ALL of the disciplines against “employees for participating in a lawful strike.”
  • Hotel management “engaged in unlawful surveillance of employees.”
  • The hotel's General Manager “implicitly promised to resolve grievances/complaints and also implicitly promised a potential promotion for the employees as a means to discourage support for the Union.”
  • Illegal provisions in employee handbook related to assigned work areas, work rules & performance standards, confidentiality, name badge, media contact and use of facilities.

Under Cornerstone's watch, this is the second hotel management company in two years that has been in legal trouble over worker abuse.

Earlier, a separate complaint was issued by the NLRB General Counsel for the retaliatory firing of a front desk worker from the Embassy Suites Irvine, under previous management.

On top of that, the Embassy Suites Irvine had previously been found in violation of state labor law, under previous management, and was held liable or settled claims for nearly $100,000.

Cornerstone is a real estate investment firm whose client base is comprised primarily of public pension funds. Cornerstone owns the Embassy Suites through its CHIEF II fund, in which the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) is a major investor.

LACERA has summoned Cornerstone twice to respond to fiduciary concerns about its handling of the labor dispute at the Embassy Suites that has involved legal charges on top of a costly boycott and frequent protests.

UNITE HERE represents workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, and airport industries. UNITE HERE affiliates hold over $4 billion in financial assets contained in jointly-trusteed pension plans.

Alyssa Giachino

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