Columbia Sussex owns boycotted Hilton Anchorage and 50 more hotels nationally
Local and state political and community leaders joined the announcement of a national boycott against Columbia Sussex, according to hotel worker union UNITE HERE.
Columbia Sussex is a private corporation based in Kentucky that owns and operates hotels in twenty states with Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott brands. Last year, Columbia Sussex declared itself the largest owner and operator of full-service hotel rooms in Alaska—including the Hilton Anchorage, where workers called a boycott of their own hotel in 2009.
"Anchorage is the biggest city in the country, but we’re also a small town," said Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. "We expect businesses here to treat everyone in our community with respect and dignity, and we’ll do what we can to make sure Columbia Sussex meets that expectation."
The state OSHA office has cited the Hilton Anchorage for 23 health and safety violations since 2015, and the federal government took the Hilton Anchorage to trial before the National Labor Relations Board in fall 2019 for alleged labor law violations. Hilton Anchorage employees have been forced to work without a contract for more than ten years, losing their good union health care plan and earning raises only when mandated by state law.
"As long as Columbia Sussex refuses to recognize the workers’ rights to fair wages and working conditions, I am not going to enter a single Columbia Sussex hotel," said State Representative Zach Fields. "We’re going to honor the boycott."
"Columbia Sussex is the ‘dirty little secret’ of the hotel industry. Because of that, it’s now Anchorage’s ‘dirty little secret,’" said Assemblymember Chris Constant. Fellow Assemblymembers Forrest Dunbar and Felix Rivera also pledged to support the boycott.
"As hotel workers, we know what goes on in Columbia Sussex hotels. It hurts us, and it hurts our customers," said Marvin Jones, president of UNITE HERE Local 878.
The website csexposed.org alerts travelers to which of almost fifty hotels with familiar brands are Columbia Sussex properties and informs them about the results of state or local government inspections.
UNITE HERE Local 878, the Alaska affiliate of UNITE HERE, represents workers in the state’s hospitality industries, including hotels, restaurants, food service outlets, and laundries. Learn more at csexposed.org.