Trouble in Paradise: Bitter Carmel hotel labor battle has roots in San Francisco

 by Marc Norton

 Carmel, celebrated as an artist colony nestled above a picturesque white-sand beach, is not where you would expect to find a picket line.  But there I was, with maybe 40 others, on a Friday evening the week before Christmas, in front of the La Playa Hotel, shaking noisemakers made from plastic bottles, chanting, “WHAT DO WE WANT? OUR JOBS!”

 Happy holidays, indeed.

 Two years ago, in November 2011, a new owner took over the La Playa Hotel, closed it down, and put a hundred workers on the street.  When the hotel reopened after a $3.5 million remodel, it was with a whole new staff.  The new owner “tossed us out with the old carpets” reads a workers’ leaflet.  Workers like Noe Hinojosa, who had been at the hotel 33 years, like Suong Edwards, who had worked there 31 years, like Sherrie Watkins, who had served guests for 28 years. Continue reading

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