Workers from the Pine Inn and Tally-Ho Inn walked off the job today, Wednesday, February 8, in a two-day strike.  As corporate profits soar and the economy rebounds for the rich, workers are striking in protest of management’s demand to eliminate longtime employer coverage of family health insurance.

The 28 Workers are asking to maintain health care coverage for their 29 children and 13 spouses. Pine Inn and Tally-Ho Inn workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 483, have been without a contract since January 1, 2011.  The workers are housekeeping, bell, front desk, and maintenance employees.  Currently, Pine inn housekeepers make less than $25,000 a year in wages.

The hotels’ wealthy owner, Richard Gunner of Fresno, has not said he cannot afford to pay for family healthcare coverage, only that he does not want to.  Gunner also owns the Santa Barbara Inn, Gunner Ranch vineyard in Fresno, as well as real estate and a number of development projects in the Santa Barbara and Fresno areas.

“This is another case of the rich squeezing workers and our families,” said Jose Vigil, a Pine Inn houseman of three years.

The workers are also protesting over alleged violations of workers’ rights by management.  Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel stated that it did “not condone the Employer’s conduct” in briefly surveilling and writing down the names of participants at a union rally in November. The Office put Pine Inn on notice that any further violations of workers’ rights during the next six months would lead to formal proceedings against it.

The last time the hotel workers’ union went on strike was in 1982.  That strike at 22 area hotels and restaurants lasted 17 days.

Gunner’s Pine Inn and Tally-Ho Inn are located at Ocean Avenue and Monte Verde Street in Carmel.  The Pine Inn was the first hotel built in the city and boasts having “the most elegant rooms in Carmel.”

Founded in 1937, UNITE HERE Local 483 represents 1,200 Monterey Bay area hospitality workers at two dozen hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, and golf courses.