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December 20, 2019 -- From what we’ve seen over the last year, City officials continue to put the wishes of Local 11 over the wishes of city residents, writes Charlyce Bozzello from the Center for Union Facts.
By Charlyce Bozzello
Start with Local 11 co-president -- and current candidate for the Democratic National Committee -- Ada Briceño, who was accused of age and race discrimination against her own employees.
This was back when she was president of Local 681 (which is now merged with Local 11). Four employees brought a successful lawsuit against Briceño’s union which detailed “daily discrimination, harassment, and accusations.”
More recently, another Briceño-led organization -- Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) -- allegedly developed a similar disregard for the wellbeing of its staff.
Briceño's not the only one who made news this year. We also reported that Local 11 co-president Susan Minato's husband has been on the union’s payroll since 2014 as an “IT consultant.”
Let’s not forget Kurt Petersen , another co-president, who employed his own daughter as a union “salt” -- meaning, she was hired at a targeted hotel to help with union organizing efforts.
Despite their questionable track records, these union leaders have had an undue amount of influence at City Hall.
Consider the battle over hotel housekeepers' rights that took place in Santa Monica this summer.
The Lookout also reported that most of the city's union hotels required workers to clean more square feet than non-union hotels are limited to under the new law ("Most Union Housekeepers Have Heavier Workloads Than Required by Hotel Ordinance," September 9, 2019).
Despite all this, the Council still voted to pass the bill.
Residents might ask themselves what other special treatment the union can look forward to under McKeown’s new role as Mayor.
That is, if he has time for the role, given his documented history of frequent travel on the taxpayer dime ("Santa Monica Council Members Took 49 Official Trips in Past Two Years," December 3, 2019).
But what does this mean for the next battle that’s already brewing in 2020? Local 11 continues to support the development of the “Plaza at Santa Monica,” despite several objections from the community.
Where many Santa Monicans see an unnecessary commercial building, Local 11 sees an opportunity for more dues-paying members.
From what we’ve seen over the last year, City officials continue to put the wishes of Local 11 over the wishes of city residents. Let’s see which side they choose in the New Year.
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