LONG BEACH -- Protesters and city officials rallied outside the Best Western Golden Sails Hotel on Saturday, speaking out against the expected high number of layoffs of the hotel's staff days before Measure N, a ballot measure forcing pay and benefit requirements on Long Beach's largest hotels, is set to go into effect.

On Dec. 10 the hotel posted a notice for employees, which was obtained by the Press-Telegram, stating that "all employees will be considered terminated after their last shift of duty on or before Dec. 15."

The memo, sent by Golden Sails General Manager Mathew Daniel, also says that the hotel has been running "with a low room occupancy for the last few years and (we) have been thinking all these years to downsize the hotel with fewer rooms to stay in business.

Employees and supporters protest outside the Best Western Gold Sails Hotel in Long Beach after employees were terminated, reportedly due to the passage of
Employees and supporters protest outside the Best Western Gold Sails Hotel in Long Beach after employees were terminated, reportedly due to the passage of Measure N. (Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer
"

Although no one could confirm the number of layoffs Saturday, layoffs did take place, said Leigh Shelton, spokeswoman for Unite Here 11, the labor activist group that helped get Measure N passed in November.

"Today we know there were more people fired, although we can't confirm all 75 were fired as they wrote in the letter," she said. "They still have guests at the hotel and I saw housekeepers cleaning. There was a custodian who was told this morning he was fired and he was out at the rally."

According to Shelton only 8 to 10 layoffs could be confirmed.

Passing with 64.3 percent of the vote, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, the living wage initiative goes into effect next Friday and will require Long Beach hotels with 100 rooms or more to pay employees at least $13 an hour.

The initiative requires that service charges are remitted to appropriate employees, gives a minimum of five paid sick days per year to full-time workers and pays an automatic 2 percent annual raise to employees.

Measure N also includes a provision that drops wage mandates if hotels agree to enter into collective bargaining with employees. Some critics of the measure have called it a blatant move to unionize downtown hotels.

Hotel officials did not return calls on Saturday.

Council members Patrick O'Donnell, Steve Neal, Suja Lowenthal and Al Austin and Assembly member Ricardo Lara were all there in protest against the layoffs, said Shelton.


pam.hale@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2141, twitter.com/PamelaHaleBurns