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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Hotel union charges Anbang with unfair labor practices

Unite Here filed the complaint after Chinese company refused to disclose ownership

Anbang’s mysterious ownership (credit: Anbang Insurance Group)

U.S. labor union Unite Here filed unfair labor practices charges against Anbang with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, after the company refused to release information on its ownership and sources of financing.

Unite Here demanded Anbang disclose its ownership and business plans in May, claiming federal labor law grants the group access to information about company practices that might affect its workers, the Wall Street Journal reported. The union will represent over 1,000 workers at Anbang’s Westin St. Francis, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, and Fairon Chicago hotels in the lawsuit.

As part of its $6.5 billion purchase of Strategic Hotels and Resorts from Blackstone Group last year, Anbang acquired the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Santa Monica’s powerful Unite Here Local 11 union — which is in the midst of contract negotiations with 250 workers at the Loews hotel — immediately expressed concerns that the property would go the way of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan. Anbang acquired that property for $2 million in 2014 — and proceeded to convert most of it into condos.

Santa Monica’s City Council took the union’s worries into account, voting unanimously in June to have its lawyers draft legislation that would force hotels in the city to disclose their ownership. [WSJ] – Naiwen Tian