Media Contact: Maria Hernandez
Cell: 623-340-8047
Email: mhernandez[at]unitehere11[dot]org

 Hyatt Andaz Workers Walk Out on Strike After Management has Union Organizer Arrested
Demand “Respect not Handcuffs”

 West Hollywood, CA- Hyatt Andaz workers walked out on a one-day ULP strike at 6 AM Tuesday after management had a union organizer arrested last week.

 UNITE HERE Local 11 filed an unfair labor practice charge with Region 31 of the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Hyatt Andaz management had unlawfully limited Ms. Soto’s access rights and had her arrested.

 “I was sitting in the cafeteria talking to workers about contract negotiations, when suddenly four men from the Sheriff’s department approached me, and a short while later they were handcuffing me. I was forcibly removed from the hotel,” said Nerexda Soto, 27. “I couldn’t believe they sent four officers for me.”

 Dozens of community allies, clergy, other hotel workers, and representatives from the offices of State Senator Ben Allen, City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board Member Sepi Shyne,  stood in solidarity with the striking workers.

 “An arrest is a serious and severe act, and should not be used in mundane circumstances such as this. Union representatives are allowed, and should be allowed, to service their hard-working members who take care of the guests who visit West Hollywood and contribute to the city’s tax base,” said State Senator Ben Allen in a statement.

 Sepi Shyne, a prominent civil rights activist and member of the City of West Hollywood's Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, said, "I was appalled to hear about the unlawful and disrespectful practices Hyatt Andaz Management took when they had union organizer Nereyda Soto arrested last Wednesday. It is her legal right to represent these workers and Miss Soto had a right to be here. We do not want business in West Hollywood who operate this way. Those are not values of our city. West Hollywood stands with its hotel workers, they make our beautiful city what it is. I am proud to stand with workers at the Hyatt Andaz, and with Nerexda Soto."

 Union organizers have access to employee areas at the Hyatt Andaz hotel based on a provision in the union contract. Ms. Soto, who is working as an organizer while on leave from her job as a barista at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, was in the Hyatt Andaz employee cafeteria speaking with Local 11 union members.

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 UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union that represents over 31,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona. Our members work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.   

Nerexda Soto Testimony: