- The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a National Labor Relations Board ruling Wednesday that found Hotel Bel-Air owner Kava Holdings Inc. committed unfair labor practices.
- The upheld decision means Hotel Bel-Air will be required to pay tens of millions of dollars in back wages to former employees who were not rehired due to what the 9th Circuit found to be anti-union animus, according to hospitality worker union Unite Here.
- The decision resolves an incident that began in 2009, more than 10 years ago, underscoring the depth of ongoing labor disputes in the region.
In addition to paying back wages, Hotel Bel-Air will need to offer former employees their old jobs. They may not want them, though — it’s been over a decade since many of them have worked there.
The dispute stems from 2009, when Hotel Bel-Air furloughed staffers as part of a temporary closure, according to Law360. At the time of its reopening in 2011, management did not rehire 152 of the 176 former employees who applied to return to work.
Unite Here Local 11, the hospitality workers union that filed the initial complaint, claimed the lack of rehiring was due to the hotel not wanting to negotiate with the union. The hotel said otherwise, claiming they were changing their service model and looking for a different type of employee.
The NLRB sided with Unite Here in 2021. Now, with Kava Holdings’ appeal struck down, the 9th Circuit’s decision “resolves one of the longstanding labor lawsuits in the country and one of the biggest in U.S. history in terms of damages,” according to Unite Here.
“Substantial evidence supported the Board’s finding of anti-union animus,” wrote the 9th Circuit’s panel.
Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, called the decision “an incredible, long-overdue victory.”
Hotel Bel-Air did not immediately respond to Hotel Dive’s request for comment, nor share the exact number of back wages to be paid.