A local hotel workers union is proposing panic buttons to protect housekeepers who work in Rancho Palos Verdes hotels, including Trump National Golf Club and Terranea Resort.
Unite Here Local 11 announced that it filed paperwork to put a measure on the November ballot that would require major hospitality employers in Rancho Palos Verdes to protect employees against sexual threats and assault, including panic buttons for workers who clean guest rooms.
Union leaders said they were backing practical solutions to the problem of sexual assault in the workplace as part of the #MeToo movement.
“We are asking voters in Rancho Palos Verdes to ensure that a housekeeper at Trump’s golf resort would have the right to break the silence around sexual threats in the workplace,” said Maria Elena Durazo, general vice president of Unite Here. “This law gives those workers the tools to protect themselves and each other.”
A former dishwasher at the Terranea Resort, Sandra Pezqueda, claimed she was fired after reporting sexual harassment and assault by her supervisor. Pezqueda was one of the “Silence Breakers” selected by Time magazine for its 2017 Person of the Year designation and has filed a lawsuit against the resort.
“Reporting sexual assault in my job was one of the most difficult and painful things I’ve had to do, and I was punished for it,” Pezqueda said. “I don’t want anyone else in this city to go through what I went through, so I am hopeful that voters will pass this measure into law.”
Unite Here has campaigned to protect hospitality workers from sexual assault since allegations were made by a New York hotel housekeeper against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011. Criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn were ultimately dismissed at the request of prosecutors, who said they could not make their case.
Representatives said the union has bolstered contract language, backed studies and successfully passed ordinances requiring panic buttons in Seattle and Chicago.
The union is hoping to pass similar ordinances in multiple California cities, including Long Beach.
–City News Service
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