California Democratic Party Endorses Boycott of Terranea Resort

Following the lead of Dolores Huerta, actress Jane Fonda, and seventeen members of the California state legislative delegation, the California Democratic Party passed a resolution Sunday endorsing the #MeToo boycott of the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, at the California State Convention in San Francisco.

The boycott of Terranea was launched in 2018 by the Feminist Majority Foundation and California NOW after multiple women came forward with allegations that they experienced sexual harassment or other misconduct while working at the resort.

The resolutions passage bolsters advocates for workers as they push for state legislative changes to protect women in the workplace from sexual harassment. UNITE HERE Local 11 has partnered with Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher to pass AB 170 to protect sub-contracted workers from sexual harassment by extending the joint liability provisions currently in effect for wage theft to sexual harassment claims. AB 170 passed the CA Assembly earlier this year and heads to a vote at the CA Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee on June 12th, 2019.

AB 170 is known as Sandras Law, after Sandra Pezqueda, who worked as a dishwasher at the Terranea through a staffing agency. Pezqueda alleged in a lawsuit filed in 2016 that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by an agency supervisor and was fired after she reported the harassment. She was subsequently featured as one of the silence breakers whom Time Magazines named its 2017 Person of the Year. In May 2018, Pezqueda announced that she had reached a settlement under which the staffing agency agreed to pay her $250,000 to resolve all claims raised in the lawsuit.

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Pezqueda and other Terranea workers have also championed an effort to establish by ballot measure a policy in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, which would require large hospitality employers like Terranea and the Trump National Golf Course to provide employees with panic buttons to summon immediate assistance if confronted with a threat, among other worker protections. Terranea opposed efforts to place the measure on the ballot.

Besides the sexual harassment allegations, Terranea has also faced allegations of wage theft. In April 2019, Terranea Resort reached a settlement to pay out $2.15 million to resolve a major wage and hour class-action lawsuit brought by its employees. This is the second class-action lawsuit the Lowe Enterprises-owned hotel has settled, the last one in 2013 for $1.125 million. Once approved by the court, hundreds of current and former employees will be eligible to receive compensation as a result of the lawsuit. The complaint alleged various forms of wage theft, including off-the-clock work, missed rest breaks and meal periods, and failure to reimburse employees for basic tools needed for the job. The lawsuit also alleged that the luxury resort utilized falsified record-keeping to avoid paying out meal break penalties.

UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 31,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers and airports.

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Endorsements of the boycott of the Terranea include:

                   
Congresswoman Katie Hill                 Nury Martinez (LA City Council)
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi                 Paul Koretz (LA City Council)
Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris                 Jeanine Pearce (Long Beach City Council)
Assemblymember Ed Chau                 Sue Himmelrich (Santa Monica City Council)
Assemblymember Laura Friedman                 Ahmad Zahra (Fullerton City Council)
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher                 Jose Solorio (Santa Ana City Council)
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago                 Melissa Fox (Irvine City Council)
Assemblymember Mike Gipson                 Jordan Brandman (Anaheim City Council)
Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell                 Jose Moreno (Anaheim City Council)
Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer                 Scott Svonkin (LA Community College Board)
Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo                 Al Jabbar (Anaheim School District)
Assemblymember Cristina Garcia                 Gina Clayton Tarvin (Ocean View School District)
State Senator Benjamin Allen                 Keri Kropke (Brea Olinda Unified School District)
State Senator Connie Leyva                 Joanne Fawley (Fullerton High School District)
State Senator Maria Elena Durazo                 Ada Brice±o (Chair of the Democratic Party of OC)
State Senator Tom Umberg                  
State Senator Henry Stern                  
State Senator Scott Weiner                  
State Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond                  
Former State Senator Kevin de Leon                  
Former State Senator Josh Newman                  
               
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Maria Hernandez
(623) 340-8047
[email protected]