- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
A union’s battle against Hollywood hangout the Chateau Marmont on behalf of laid-off workers is heating up.
On Wednesday UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents hotel employees in Los Angeles, Orange County and Arizona, filed an unfair labor practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the Andre Balazs-owned hotel, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The charge alleges that the hotel, which last year announced its intention to become a private club, violated section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act and interfered with employee rights by “engaging in surveillance or creating impression of surveillance of employees’ union activities” during recent protests of the Chateau.
According to the union, during three recent protests in April and May — which called for the hotel to rehire more of the workers it laid off during the pandemic and supported a boycott of the institution until demands are met — demonstrators witnessed various individuals they deemed to be hotel employees allegedly surveilling or taking pictures or video, including the hotel’s managing director. While the Chateau says it has rehired some employees as local pandemic restrictions have lifted, the bulk of the over 200 laid-off former workers have not been re-employed, per protest organizers. UNITE HERE Local 11, which had begun organizing Chateau workers before the pandemic hit in 2020, maintains the Chateau should comply with state and local “right-to-recall” laws and rehire more past employees.
“Chateau Marmont and Andre Balazs’ pandemic profiteering seemingly has no limits,” UNITE HERE Local 11 co-president Kurt Petersen said in a statement about the filing. “The hotel fired their workers and cut off health insurance at the outset of this pandemic. And when workers rise up to fight for their jobs, the Chateau’s top manager spied on them. Balazs and his managers should be fired.”
A hotel spokesperson said in a statement about the NLRB charge, “This meritless claim is just another attempt by Unite Here Local 11 to harass a non-union hotel — a hotel which actually provides significantly better pay and health benefits to its employees than the union does for the same positions.”
The unfair labor practices charge filed Wednesday specifically cites three individuals that allegedly attempted to restrict employee rights on behalf of the Chateau by surveilling protestors, including managing director Amanda Grandinetti, one unnamed individual and one unnamed security guard. “I just saw her [Grandinetti] in this car watching everybody passing by,” says former Chateau houseman of over three years, Alejandro Roldan, who attended the April 8 protest. Roldan says he saw the managing director recording video: “We were afraid because probably she was not going to call us back [to work] when the state opens.” Grandinetti did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Last September, after Chateau employees were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic without offers of severance packages or extended health insurance, over 30 former workers at the storied Sunset Blvd. establishment made allegations of labor mistreatment, sexual harassment and racial discrimination to The Hollywood Reporter. (The hotel has denied these assertions. Grandinetti, who workers claimed to THR made insensitive comments to subordinates of color, apologized and called the claims “heartbreaking.”) In months since, the business has faced multiple civil lawsuits funded by UNITE HERE Local 11 while A-listers like Jane Fonda, Edie Falco and Alfonso Cuaron, among others, have joined a boycott of the hotel.
Grassroots organizations including the Democratic Socialists of America Los Angeles chapter and Ground Game LA have also joined the ongoing protests, supporting the boycott and calling for workers to be rehired. In April, a planned one-day shoot for Aaron Sorkin’s Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz film Being the Ricardos at the Chateau was scrapped when it became clear the production would breach former workers’ picket line.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day