HEI Hotels & Resorts just sold the 293-suite Embassy Suites Irvine-Orange County Airport for an undisclosed price.
The Norwalk, Conn.-based investor in hotel properties reportedly says the sale will allow it to implement further cost-cutting at the hotel by managing the property. But it also kicks to the undisclosed buyer a labor dispute that has been boiling there for months--over HEI's existing cost-cutting moves.
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It got so bad that hotel workers in late August asked patrons to boycott the place. About 70 employees are seeking union representation through Unite HERE Local 11, the same labor union that has clashed with HEI over worker conditions at the Long Beach Hilton.
But Stephen Chan, vice president of acquisitions and development at HEI, claims in a piece carried by the Los Angeles Times that the Embassy Suites Irvine sale had nothing to do with the labor dispute.
But Chan did acknowledge HEI's ownership of the hotel, which it bought in 2006, was short by normal company standards.
Workers claim HEI's cost cutting in Irvine has resulted in heavy workloads and a reduction in cleaning supplies, while complaining the hotelier pays low wages and offers only costly health benefits.