Kahler management company to appeal NLRB ruling
Management of the Kahler Hospitality Group hotels plan to appeal a recent finding that the properties have violated several unfair labor practices and have negotiated with its employees in bad faith.
A federal administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board filed her decision on May 27 on the 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.
Judge Sharon Levinson Steckler found against Richfield Hospitality, the firm managing the four Kahler Hospitality Group hotels in downtown Rochester, on 16 of the 17 charges brought by the union.
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 judgment recommends that Richfield restore and honor the terms of the previous labor contract, which expired on Feb. 28, 2015. Since then, the hotels' housekeepers, bartenders, cooks and bellmen have been working without a contract as the two parties tried to negotiate a new one.
Local 21 President Brian Brandt attributed the lack of an agreement to Bea, saying he "apparently is not concerned about employing a management company that would violate federal labor law."
Bill Dwyer, Kahler Hospitality's area managing director, took offense at Brandt's comments and said that the hotel group, which owns more rooms than any other Rochester hotelier, will fight the judgment.
"After all of Brian Brandt's incendiary remarks, it is absolutely our intention to file an appeal," said Dwyer, who stepped into the Rochester leadership role four months ago. The appeal must be filed by June 24.
He says Kahler Hospitality Group is the only hotelier locally that has union employees and it's at a severe competitive disadvantage.
"The union has failed to tell people the entire truth. The Kahler is paying every employee that is there more, by far, than anybody else in town. It renders it totally impossible for the Kahler to compete with the competition," Dwyer said.
The Richfield and Kahler negotiation team were to resume talks about a new labor contract today. The two sides have not met to discuss the contract since last year.
However, the Kahler team says it imposed its "last, best contract offer" on the hotel employees on May 16 because of what it describes as "an impasse." On March 25, they sent the union an email offering three possible negotiation meeting dates of March 30, April 6 or April 7. The Kahler team says it did not get a response. They see that as the union turning down three meetings and spurring an impasse.
"We've been working on this since 2014 and it was decided by legal counsel that we were at an impasse. We had no choice, but go to impasse. Our last contract offer was implemented," Dwyer said.
Unite Here 14 is filing a complaint with the NLRB about the imposition of the contract, which is not approved by the union.