Employees at Sheraton Petaluma are planning a protest outside the swanky hotel Thursday to voice concern over working without a contract for the past three years.
The union, Unite Here Local 2850, which represents 3,000 hotel employees in North Bay and East Bay, wants the hotel to include something called a successorship provision in the next contract.
That means that if the 183-room hotel is sold, all provisions—wages, healthcare and other benefits—would remain locked in and the union recognized, said Marty Bennett, a research and policy analyst for the union and co-chair of Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County.
Bennett said the owners, who include Tom Birdsall and father-in-law, Don Green, are planning on selling the hotel, which may be why they are reluctant to agree to the clause.
David Scott, the general manager of the Sheraton, said selling the hotel “has never even come up" and that management has been in talks with the labor group and hoped to have a resolution soon.
“We are very proactively negotiating in good faith,” Scott said, adding that everything from wages to health benefits, retirement and even compensating meals was on the table. “These are complicated matters, but we’ve made progress on a good number of points.”
Located at the Petaluma Marina, the Sheraton is the only unionized hotel in the entire county. Front desk staff, maids, janitors and other non-tipped staff receive $10 to 15 an hour.
But despite the hotel’s high profit margins, workers have not received a raise in the past two years, Bennett said.
The protest, scheduled for 5pm Thursday outside the hotel, will be a first for the union, which Bennett said has had a very good relationship with hotel management.