NLRB finds Kahler guilty of unfair labor practices

The National Labor Relations Board has found the firm managing Rochester's Kahler hotel properties guilty of several unfair labor practices and negotiating with its employees in bad faith.

The NLRB issued the ruling on May 27 on 17 charges made by the union, Unite Here Local 21. Unite represents 270 members who work for the Kahler Hospitality Group. KHG is led by health care executive and real estate investor Javon Bea, of Oronoco.

The federal agency found Richfield Hospitality, the firm managing the four Kahler Hospitality Group hotels in downtown Rochester, guilty on 16 of the 17 charges.

"Javon Bea is a multimillionaire, who apparently is not concerned about employing a management company that would violate federal labor law," said Local 21 President Brian Brandt in an announcement of the ruling. "(He) has no problem paying attorneys thousands of dollars to lower wages and take away benefits."

No one at Richfield or the Kahler hotels were available for comment on the ruling on Friday afternoon.


The charges against the Richfield staff ranged from "unlawfully discontinuing longevity pay increases," "refusing to collectively bargain upon request with the union" and "proposing confusing terms and conditions of employment with the intent to stall negotiations."

The ruling orders Richfield to restore and honor the terms of the previous labor contract, which expired on Feb. 28, 2015. Since then, the employees have been working without a contract as the union and Richfield unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a new one.

Richfield must give employees lump-sum back pay awards to make up for "longevity pay" from the most recent labor contract, which was discontinued without notice to the union or the employees.

"Depending on when they were hired, some of the housekeepers are looking at lump payments of a couple thousand each. It will add up to several thousands of dollars," Brandt said.

They also were ordered to rescind unfair punishment against two employees and give them any back pay owed.

Brandt said the union now is scheduled to meet with the Richfield and Kahler negotiation team on Tuesday to resume talks about a new labor contract. The two sides have not met to discuss the contract since last year.

"They've been ordered to bargain in good faith," he said.

The Kahler management team notified the hotel employees on May 16 that they are imposing their "final" contract offer from March 2015. According to the union, management said they could do that because negotiations were at an impasse. Since the NRLB has ruled that Richfield has been negotiating in bad faith and that the expired contract should be honored, Unite Here Local 21 has filed charges against the hotel management.

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