Signatures submitted for ballot measure to require panic buttons for Terranea and Trump golf club workers

Hotel workers at the ritzy Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes have collected signatures on a petition calling for a citywide ballot measure to give employees panic buttons to prevent sexual assaults.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Hotel workers have submitted a petition to place before Rancho Palos Verdes voters an ordinance that would require the exclusive Terranea Resort and nearby Trump National Golf Club to provide panic buttons for its employees.

Representatives for Unite Here Local 11 said they submitted 4,000 signatures to the Rancho Palos Verdes city clerk Wednesday, calling for the measure to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The measure would also guarantee workers $15-an-hour minimum wages and other benefits.

The city clerk has 30 days to certify that at least 3,300 of the signatures come from registered voters, which would meet the threshold of 10% of the city’s total voters. Union workers say they have been collecting signatures since mid-March.

The proposed ordinance is written to single out Trump National Golf Club and Terranea, which is the only hotel in the city that meets the measure’s description of having at least 50 employees.


The ritzy resort on the shore of the Palos Verdes Peninsula was targeted by the union because Sandra Pezqueda, a former Terranea Resort worker, said she was fired in 2016 after complaining about the sexual advances of her supervisor.

A representative of Terranea said a settlement was recently reached between Pezqueda and an outside temporary staffing agency whose two employees were involved in the claim of harassment at the resort. The resort said it has been cleared of all ties to the suit.

“We said at the time that this lawsuit and these allegations have nothing to do with Terranea,” said resort President Terri Haack.

The proposed language of the measure says the panic buttons are needed because “hospitality employees who work by themselves in guest rooms, restrooms, or in isolated locations are vulnerable to crimes and other threatening behavior, including sexual assault.”


The resort has said in the past that it has already adopted safety procedures to protect staff members, including installing panic buttons for “associates throughout the resort.”

Pezqueda, who filed a lawsuit, was among several women named Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2017 for launching the #MeToo movement.

The ordinance would require the hotel to pay an hourly wage of at least $15 starting Jan. 1, 2019, and ensure that workers are not forced to work shifts of more than 10 hours, except in emergency situations and only with the consent of the workers. The average hourly salary for Terranea workers is $15.50 but many workers earn less, the union said. Terranea said the average hourly rate is more than $20 at the resort.

The ordinance also would call on the resort to provide access to a vanpool, private bus or passes for mass transit to help employees get to work.


Workers have sued the resort, saying they aren’t paid for the time they spend waiting to get uniforms before each shift and being driven on a bus from a remote parking lot.

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10:20 p.m.: This article was updated to include a response from Terranea Resort.

This article was originally published at 4:30 p.m.