This case was covered on the front pages of both Twin Cities newspapers today. When the firings happened, the central labor council had a big rally of 600 people in protest, I heard. [I wasn't in town at the time of the rally, because I was working on an AFSCME strike in southern Illinois at the time.] HERE Local 17 (Hotel & Restaurant workers) is very active organizing here.
-Andy English AFSCME public affairs associate Minnesota Area Office
-----Original Message----- From: Nathan Newman <nathan.newman at yale.edu> To: Lbo-Talk <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com> Date: Friday, January 07, 2000 4:29 PM Subject: Hotel Union Defends Illegal Immigrants
>This is a really encouraging case and decision by the EEOC and NLRB, along
>showing how some unions are fighting hard on behalf of undocumented workers
>recognizing how that builds their unions as well.
>-- Nathan Newman
>Hotel Agrees to Settlement for Fired Illegal Aliens
>Source: The Associated Press
>Published: Jan 7, 2000 - 10:56 AM
>MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Holiday Inn Express hotel has agreed to pay $72,000 to
>illegal immigrants from Mexico who were fired as housekeepers in alleged
>retaliation for leading a successful union organizing drive. The settlement
>reached Thursday between Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, the U.S.
>Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.
>Jaye Rykunyk, secretary-treasurer and principal officer of Local 17 of the
>Employees and Restaurant Employees, said the agreement was groundbreaking.
>"The EEOC has taken the position that undocumented workers are entitled to
>compensation for discrimination. It's a nationwide precedent for the EEOC,"
>Previously, the EEOC said it had limited authority to help workers who were
>the United States illegally.
>Despite the settlement, the workers likely will have to leave the country
>because they are undocumented, according to the Immigration and
>Service's district director, Curtis Aljets.
>The hotel fired the workers on Oct. 13 while they were in the process of
>organizing a union. The hotel's manager said he turned them in to the INS
>because he feared penalties for employing them.
>The INS arrested eight of the workers on the same day. All nine workers,
>fought deportation, are still in Minnesota, awaiting an INS hearing.
>Two days after the arrests, the housekeepers' union filed an unfair labor
>practices complaint with the NLRB.
>The NLRB and the EEOC jointly investigated the hotel. The NLRB found that
>hotel was in violation of the National Labor Relations Act by retaliating
>against its employees.
>The EEOC found that the hotel violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by
>the workers lunch and rest breaks, imposing more rigorous monitoring and
>productivity schedules and denying them raises after a 90-day probationary
>St. Paul lawyer J. Michael Colloton, who represented Holiday Inn, said the
>does not acknowledge wrongdoing but settled the lawsuit because it was less
>expensive than fighting.
>The hotel agreed to pay the employees $1,000 each in compensatory damages.
>settlement also includes $7,000 in back pay for each worker.
>Holiday Inn also signed a two-year contract with the union, providing a
>wage of $7.25 for housekeepers, a raise after 90 days and another raise
>The hotel also has promised not to retaliate or discriminate against other
>employees and to train its managers and supervisors. It must report to the
>for one year.
>The workers involved were Rosa Albino, Evertina Albino, Reyna Albino, Norma
>Toro, Bulfrano Albino, Bruna Alvarez, Estella Albino, Amado Flores and