Hotel workers’ union demands answers from Anbang
New York City – 23 May 2017 –
Bloomberg reported that Anbang Insurance Group, the acquisitive Chinese company dogged by questions about its ownership, received a new request for shareholder data and management agreements for three of its US hotels from a union conducting contract negotiations at one of the properties.
Unite Here represents housekeepers, bellmen and other workers at two California hotels – the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco and Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel – and at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park. The union said incentive payments to hotel managers might encourage the operator to keep down labour costs and jobs could be lost if rooms are converted into condominiums, as Anbang is doing at New York’s Waldorf Astoria.
The three hotels were part of Anbang’s 2016 purchase of Strategic Hotels & Resorts from Blackstone Group. The original agreement for 16 hotels was for US$6.5 billion, almost US$500 million more than Blackstone had paid for them three months earlier, but one property, the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, dropped out.
The premium the insurer paid “heightens our concern that Anbang may be seeking an alternative use for some or all of the hotels,” Anand Singh, president of Unite Here Local 2, wrote in a letter to Randy Zupanski, general manager of the Westin St. Francis, which has almost 1,200 rooms. Zupanski didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment from Bloomberg.