Sam Gideon Anson
Beach Front BullyThe National Labor Relations Board in West Los Angeles sent a not-so-subtle message to the Miramar Sheraton Hotel last week: Play fair. It seems the board felt the Santa Monica hotel wasnt behaving nicely last October when employees were asked to vote on whether the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees, Local 814, should be allowed to keep their stronghold. The hotel won that election by just a few votes. Union officials immediately filed objections against the hotel, alleging misconduct on the part of the hotels management. In a 36-page report, NLRB officials recommended a new vote be held after investigators concluded the hotel had waged an illegal anti-union campaign. The board cited the hotels decision to hire professional consultants to run the campaign, and the meetings it held to sway workers away from the union, as proof the Miramars managers had made it clear that supporting the union was "not considered to be the proper thing to be doing," the report said. An NLRB official also found that the Miramar had intimidated workers on election day by stationing supervisors and security guards near the polls. Intimidation came in subtler forms, too: Workers in the housekeeping department were told to pick up their checks at the security office on election day, instead of from their supervisors office. But dont expect new elections just yet. An attorney for the hotel said it plans to appeal the boards recommendation. And both sides must still wait for the NLRB to consider unfair-labor-practice charges filed by the union against the Miramar.
LAUSD students got a lesson in new math last month after school officials quietly admitted something wasnt adding up. It seems that in between handing out diplomas, bidding long goodbyes and collecting books, administrators at Jordan High School in Watts noticed a small scheduling error: The school year wasnt long enough to meet state law. Evidently, students were let out last month after attending only 179 days of school a day short of the mandated 180 days. The shortfall even confused principal Etta Seamster McMahan, who at first refused to acknowledge that something was wrong. "There is no school on Thursday," said McMahan, denying the need for a make-up day. Apparently, she spoke before she realized a group of parent and teacher volunteers were on campus busily calling high schoolers to tell them about the "educational (with incentives) fair," which was hastily scheduled for a Thursday three days after students were dismissed for the summer. Among the door prizes given out to those who attended the extra day were free pizza, tickets to Magic Mountain, and even sweatshirts donated by Shaquille ONeal. And of course students could also pick up report cards, get help on the proficiency exams they need to pass, or enroll in summer school. That did little, however, to draw students back for one more day of learning less than a quarter of the 2,030 enrolled at Jordan attended.