Culture

Oakland issues ultimatum to airport hotel in $400,000 wage-theft case


Director of Workplace and Employment Standards, Emylene Aspilla, middle, speaks during a press conference regarding an investigation into workers wage theft in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023. 128 workers employed at the Radisson Hotel near the Oakland Airport will earn back more than $400,000 according to the DWES and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Stopping just short of filing a civil lawsuit, the city of Oakland has issued an ultimatum to the Radisson Hotel near the airport: Pay $400,000 to workers who were victims of wage theft, or face significant consequences.

The penalties threatened by the city could include opposition to the Radisson ownership’s goal of converting the 266-room building into affordable housing as part of a continued state program that has been sheltering people experiencing homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent last week, city attorney Barbara Parker warned that the city would review the hotel’s “record of non-compliance” when deciding on contracts. land-use approvals and permitting “until the violations are remedied, to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

It is the latest development in an increasingly messy wage-theft case; the expected $400,000 payout would be the largest in Oakland’s history.

City officials declined to comment Monday on whether the threats against Radisson could interrupt its conversion to housing under the California Homekey program.

California Supportive Housing, a nonprofit based in the South Bay, is set to acquire the hotel and lead its redevelopment.

The organization plans to do the same for the 104-unit Quality Inn Hotel in Oakland, which in February fell into loan delinquency, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

To help complete the Quality Inn’s rehabilitation, the Homekey program in January awarded the city $20 million in grants.

Director of Workplace and Employment Standards, Emylene Aspilla, middle, speaks during a press conference regarding an investigation into workers wage theft in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023. 128 workers employed at the Radisson Hotel near the Oakland Airport will earn back more than $400,000 according to the DWES and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

At the Radisson, meanwhile, the city’s Department of Workforce and Employment Standards determined in the fall that the hotel owed back pay to 128 ex-employees — including housekeepers, front desk staff and others — who were mostly all laid off after the pandemic began.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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