Big Money, Misleading Mailers Squash Hotel Worker Protection Measure in LA Area

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA– The Terranea Resort used a massive influx of money to deluge RPV voters with misleading and negative mailers and ads in the lead up to yesterday’s election. RPV now has the distinction of being the lone municipality to vote down a panic-button measure.

In addition to the $1.25 million contributed specifically to defeat Measure B, Terranea Resort’s owners contributed an additional $190,000 to Rancho Palos Verdes city council candidates who opposed the measure.

“What kind of a company spends more than $1 million to deny women legal protections against sexual assault? The Terranea Resort joins Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump in the ‘Me Too’ Hall of Shame,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Voters in Seattle, Oakland and Long Beach have passed this initiative overwhelmingly.  The Terranea Resort bought this election. A boycott of the Terranea is the only ethical response to Terranea’s cynical campaign to deny legal protections against the risk of sexual assault in the industry.”

Measure B would have protected workers at the city’s famed Terranea Resort and Trump National Golf Club by addressing the unique dangers faced by hospitality workers like housekeepers, whose jobs may require them to work alone in guest rooms, restrooms, or other isolated locations without cameras or witnesses. Measure B would have required GPS-enabled panic buttons for workers to summon security, prohibit retaliation against workers who use the devices, ensure survivors are able to speak to law enforcement and a counselor, and require signage informing guests about the law. The measure would have also required large hospitality employers to pay a $15 an hour living wage.

Measure B was championed by Sandra Pezqueda, a former subcontracted dishwasher at the Terranea, who alleged in a since-settled lawsuit that her male agency supervisor had tried to kiss her in a Terranea storage room and that she was fired after complaining about his conduct to hotel management.  In 2017, she was featured among the “Silence Breakers” that TIME Magazine celebrated as its Person of the Year, and she remains vocal advocate for the rights of low-wage women workers.

Sparked by Sandra and others’ call to action, California NOW, Feminist Majority Foundation, Dolores Huerta Foundation and the California Democratic Party have endorsed a boycott of the Terranea Resort.  Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren recently joined the call for a boycott of the property.

“Since I found the courage to come forward, so many women from across our industry have come to me and said ‘me too.’ Terranea’s smear campaign to deny legal protections for the women workers who make its guests’ beds and clean its toilets makes me sick,” said Sandra Pezqueda.

Voters in Oakland, Long Beach and Seattle overwhelmingly passed initiatives like Measure B and the Santa Monica City Council voted for similar protections.

UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 31,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports. The union has won protections – including panic buttons – for women against sexual assault in contracts covering more than 10,000 workers.

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