Respect New Otani Workers' Rights

We, the workers of the union organizing committee of the New Otani, wish to respond to the commentary about the struggle to unionize our hotel ("Time for a Hotel Union Vote," Sept. 8).

If the authors, Mr. Takeda and Ms. Hashimoto (both business people), really believe, as they wrote in their piece, that "the decision to unionize ... belongs to the workers," why have they never talked to us to find out about our working conditions or ask our opinions about the NLRB election process?

Mr. Takeda and Ms. Hashimoto do not clean 16 rooms a day, wash hundreds of dirty dishes or serve and cook the food at the New Otani. We are outraged that they claim to speak for us, the employees.

We the workers do not want to bring the labor dispute to a close. We believe that the fairest way is through a Neutrality Card-Check procedure.

Mr. Takeda and Ms. Hashimoto express concern that we could not have a democratic process through a card-check vote because of harassment and pressure by the union. In fact, the real harassment and pressure comes from management. We live with fear and intimidation created by management every day, and are under constant threat of being fired if we speak up.

So far, as part of the New Otani management's anti-union campaign, pro-union workers have been fired, threatened and physically assaulted. Management intimidates workers by allowing anti-union employees to circulate petitions for an NLRB election on work time, making it clear that people's jobs will be at risk if they don't sign.

The New Otani management wants an NLRB election for one reason only, and it certainly isn't "democracy." They want an NLRB election because they know that the NLRB process favors the company. The recent court decision about the unfair firings of our three co-workers shows us that this is true.

We believe that a card-check vote is much more democratic. In a card-check vote, we the workers have the freedom to organize our co-workers in the non-pressurized environment of their homes, instead of under our manager's watchful eyes. The card-check method truly leaves the decision up to those who will be affected the workers.

We challenge Mr. Takeda and Ms. Hashimoto to end this dispute by agreeing to be neutral and really let the employees decide without threats and interference from our managers.

Mr. Takeda and Ms. Hashimoto, we ask you not to attempt to speak for the New Otani workers. Our struggle as workers is to have the right to speak for ourselves.

(Signed by 19 employees of the New Otani)

Downtown Los Angeles

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