Labor union files complaint against owner of Loews Santa Monica

A labor union for hotel workers has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the Chinese owner of a popular Santa Monica hotel of failing to provide information about a potential condominium conversion at the property.

Unite Here, the union for hotel workers, said the group requested information about the new owner of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel because its members worry that a conversion to condominiums would put 250 hotel employees out of work.

Unite Here said it made the request in May from the new owner, Anbang Insurance Group, and three of its affiliates, seeking information about the owner’s finances, hotel management agreements and potential conversion plans. The group said it has yet to get a response.

The fear of a conversion was prompted when Angbang purchased the venerable Waldorf Astoria Hotel New York in 2015 and began a three-year process of converting it into 400 luxury condominiums.

Also, Anbang announced two months ago that its chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was stepping aside temporarily for “personal reasons” and that he had authorized “relevant senior executives to continue running the business.”

The announcement came hours after news reports that Wu had been taken by Chinese authorities from the Anbang offices. In the last two weeks, reports surfaced that Chinese authorities have asked Anbang Insurance to sell its overseas assets. The government asked Anbang to bring the proceeds back to China after disposing of holdings abroad, according to anonymous sources quoted by Bloomberg News.

Unite Here said federal labor laws give unions access to information that could impact unionized workers at hotels. A representative for Anbang Insurance Group could not be reached for comment.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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