VIRGINIA EREDIA

Virginia Eredia, who was laid off by the Terranea after working nearly six years as a turndown attendant.  Eredia said: “After losing my job, I lost my house, my car, and had to go into a lot of debt. This money will help ease some of that and will help me buy a car to get to work. I would have never received this had I not chosen to stand up for my rights. I hope other hotel workers see this and know what is possible.”

CA State Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower

Today CA Labor CommissionerLilia Garcia-Brower began distributing more than $1.5 million to 57 workers laid off at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes during the COVID-19 pandemic who were not offered job positions promptly as required by the Right to Recall Law.

California Labor Commissioner Delivers Checks to Terranea Resort Workers Whose Rights to Return to Work Were Violated

PRESS CONTACT: Maria Hernandez | 623-340-8047 | mhernandez@unitehere11.org

California Labor Commissioner Delivers Checks to Terranea Resort Workers Whose Rights to Return to Work Were Violated

Los Angeles, CA-  The Labor Commissioner’s Office has begun distributing more than $1.5 million to 57 workers laid off at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes during the COVID-19 pandemic who were not offered job positions promptly as required by the Right to Recall Law.

The distribution of checks to workers began during an in-person press conference led by Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower.  The Labor Commissioner’s Office cited Terranea alleging violations of the recall law in March and subsequently reached a settlement with the resort, resulting in the payments for workers.  More information regarding the citation is available here.

Virginia Eredia, who was laid off by the Terranea after working nearly six years as a turndown attendant.  Eredia said: “After losing my job, I lost my house, my car, and had to go into a lot of debt. This money will help ease some of that and will help me buy a car to get to work. I would have never received this had I not chosen to stand up for my rights. I hope other hotel workers see this and know what is possible.”

Terranea workers were at the forefront of the campaign to enact SB-93. The resort had terminated most of its employees without making a binding commitment to rehire them and cut off their healthcare at the beginning of the pandemic.

Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers’ union that fought for the law and helped the workers file complaints, said: “When the Terranea Resort exploited the pandemic to fire most of their workers, the hotel caused incalculable chaos and harm on those workers and their families. Rather than walking away, these brave workers decided to fight to return to their jobs.  And today we celebrate their victory and courage.  We also want to thank the Labor Commissioner and her staff for their extraordinary effort to return these workers back to work.”

The distribution of checks resolves the first case brought under California’s recently-enacted Right to Recall Law.  Signed into law last year, SB-93 requires hotels, event centers, and other hospitality businesses to offer employees whom they laid off due the COVID-19 downturn in tourism an opportunity to return to work in open positions for which they are qualified in order of seniority. The statute provides job protections to some 700,000 housekeepers, cooks, waiters, and other laid off workers.

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UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports

Environmental Groups and UNITE HERE Local 11 Call Out Terranea “Eco-Resort” Owners Lowe & JC Resorts for Execs’ Funding of Climate Change Deniers

Press Release: July 19, 2022

Environmental Groups and UNITE HERE Local 11 Call Out Terranea “Eco-Resort” Owners Lowe & JC Resorts for Execs’ Funding of Climate Change Deniers

As Congressional climate agenda stalls, environmental activists and UNITE HERE Local 11 press resort owners whose leaders fund anti-environment politicians

Los Angeles: This week a coalition of environmental organizations and allies called out Terranea Resort owners JC Resorts and Lowe for throwing millions at anti-environment politicians and other conservative causes.

The Terranea, a sprawling property along an environmentally sensitive stretch of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, bills itself as a “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” resort.

Yet an open letter to the resort signed by leading environmental groups highlights that since 2012 executives of Terranea’s owners Lowe and JC Resorts have collectively contributed over $2 million to anti-environment Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump and conservative causes like the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity PAC.

Nico Gardner Serna with Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, a signatory to the letter, said: “As an environmental activist/leader with the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles who was raised in and currently lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, I am deeply concerned about Terranea’s ownership executives making political contributions that stand in the way of our fight against global climate change. Political contributions are moral statements. I would like to see them stop giving money to climate change-denying politicians like Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, and Lindsey Graham, and instead commit to protecting the land, air, water, and animals in this region.”

In addition to the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, the open letter is signed by Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, Communities for a Better Environment, CA Environmental Voters (League of Conservation Voters), Physicians for Social Responsibility, LAANE, Labor Network for Sustainability, and the hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 11.  Examples of political donations highlighted in the letter, which can be accessed here, include the following:

 

  • House Minority Leader Republican Kevin McCarthy was the largest recipient of Lowe executives’ largesse, receiving $189,800 since 2012. McCarthy received a 3% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters and has opposed the Biden Administration’s efforts to move the country away from fossil fuels.

 

  • Robert J. Lowe Sr. contributed $50,000 to the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity Action (AFPA) from October 9, 2020 through October 1, 2021.  According to the Center for Media and Democracy, “AFP’s messages are in sync with those of other groups funded by Charles Koch—opposing labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and any effort to combat climate change.”

 

  • Contributions from JC Resorts Chairman Paul Reed included $16,600 to Donald Trump. The New York Times has reported that “the damage done by the greenhouse gas pollution unleashed by President Trump’s rollbacks may prove to be one of the most profound legacies of his single term.”

“As a union, we are committed to ensuring that workers across the hospitality industry work in environments where they and their surrounding communities are treated with dignity and respect. That extends to the natural environment, animals, and habitat.  It is outrageous that executives of the owners of Terranea, a resort billed as environmentally friendly, would be funding the politicians responsible for blocking reform to stop catastrophic climate change,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

The signatory organizations are calling on “Terranea’s owners Lowe and JC Resorts to immediately stop their leaders from making donations to Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy and Republicans like them who are standing in the way of our fight against global climate change.”

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UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.

 

Terranea Resort Agrees to Pay $1.52 Million to Resolve Legal Citation for Laid Off Workers 

Settlement reached with California Labor Commissioner in first legal action under state “return-to-work” law for workers laid off during the pandemic

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA-  The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has reached a $1.52 million settlement with the Terranea Resort to resolve a citation the agency issued in March to the ritzy resort alleging that it violated state law by failing to timely recall laid-off workers to their former positions.  The company also agreed to recall several veteran employees.

The settlement resolves the first case ever under California’s recently-enacted return-to-work law.  Signed into law last year, SB-93 requires hotels, event centers, and other hospitality businesses to offer employees whom they laid off due the COVID-19 downturn in tourism an opportunity to return to work in open positions for which they are qualified in order of seniority. The statute provides job protections to some 700,000 housekeepers, cooks, waiters, and other laid off workers.

David Gomez Martinez, who was laid off by the Terranea after working 10 years at the resort, said: “Being laid off during the pandemic has been devastating for me and my family. We’ve struggled to pay our bills and keep food on the table. I am really glad to know I will be getting my job back. Sad it took the state stepping in to make sure Terranea followed the law.”

The state agency, which is led by California’s Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower, conducted an investigation in response to complaints from workers alleging violations of the recall law. More than a dozen Terranea workers–including servers, cooks, and room attendants–filed complaints.

The Labor Commissioner’s investigation found that the resort failed to recall, or to timely recall, 57 former employees.  Each of these 57 workers will receive a share of the $1.52 million settlement, with the average payout approximately $26,500 per worker.  Under the statute, damages are calculated based on the number of days a worker waits to be offered open positions for which they are qualified. The company will also pay $5,300 in civil penalties to the State of California.

Terranea workers were at the forefront of the campaign to enact SB-93. The company terminated most of its employees without making a binding commitment to rehire them and cut off their healthcare at the beginning of the pandemic.

Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality workers’ union that fought for the law and helped the workers file complaints, said: “This is a tremendous victory for the Terranea’s workers, who fought to win and then to enforce their right to return to their jobs and provide for their families.  This massive settlement sends a powerful message to the entire hospitality industry that these worker protections have real teeth and that companies may violate them at their peril.  We commend the Labor Commissioner’s office for conducting such a thorough and effective investigation of the workers’ complaints.”

“My legislative colleagues and I fought to pass a law where hardworking long time employees who were laid off during the pandemic could return to their jobs,” said State Senator Maria Elena Durazo. “This outcome shows what can happen when workers, like those at the Terranea Resort, stand up for their rights and we in government listen and act.  I congratulate the California Labor Commissioner and her staff for their tremendous work to enforce this critical law.”