Still fighting - Page 2

Woodfin Suites workers wage a long, difficult battle to get what they are owed

Anderson also said the hotel has a long history of using intimidation tactics throughout the two-year struggle.

The Guardian broke the story last year ("Calling in the feds," 6/13/07) that the owner of Woodfin Suites, Sam Hardage, used connections with US Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) to have the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials audit his own hotel, which he then used as a pretext for trying to fire some of his workers.

"The real question," Emeryville City Council Member John Fricke told the Guardian, "is why has the Woodfin hotel chosen to invest so much money fighting Measure C.

"It's pretty clear that the Woodfin has spent many times the back wage it owes and paid that to lawyers," he said.

Rosales said that the hotel was battling on a matter of principle. "One could argue that were going to be doing business in Emeryville for a very long time," he said. "We want to find some clarity on the issue so the city can't adopt measures and apply them retroactively."

Both sides hope for a favorable outcome Dec. 1, but remain entrenched and ready to defend their positions.

"We are confident that a favorable decision will be made and we hope that the hotel will pay," Rosa said. "[The dispute] has made me stronger both as a person, and as a member of the working class."

Woodfin is confident but prepared to continue fighting.

"Really what we want to do is find some good resolution between ourselves and the city," Rosales said. If they don't, he said, "I think we could find ourselves back in court." *

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