Union organizers stepped up their battle against the Four Points Sheraton LAX by announcing on Tuesday federal charges of unfair labor practices.


Unite HERE Local 11 filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging the use of coercive, intimidating and harassing tactics to discourage worker organizing efforts.


The charges, filed March 10, allege hotel managers threatened to call the police on union supporters, warned that workers involved with the union would be fired, and suspended a union activist.


Tony Bisceglia, a spokesman for NLRB's L.A. Region 31 office, said the allegations are under investigation.


A call seeking comment from Four Points Sheraton LAX management wasn't immediately returned.


Filing NLRB charges is a common union tactic when employers resist attempts to organize workers. Still, the union strife has complicated plans by the hotel's owners a partnership of Tishman Properties Inc. and Dutch banking giant ING Groep NV to sell the property.


Unite HERE Local 11 launched a campaign earlier this year to unionize the three largest hotels near Los Angeles International Airport on Century Boulevard, where only the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Airport has a union contract.


Century Boulevard is home to one of the largest concentrations of hotel rooms in Los Angeles County, and union organizers have long sought to organize the workforce.


The union says that LAX-area hotel workers have the weakest benefits and lowest pay of hotel workers in any part of L.A. County.


Graciela Gomez, a housekeeper at the Sheraton Four Points LAX, said workers won't be intimidated. "We have had enough of the poverty wages that this company pays," Gomez said in a union statement. "Many of us have to work two jobs just to make ends meet."

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