July 20, 2023


Washington, DC– Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12), together with Reps. Maxine Waters (CA-43), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Mike Levin (CA-49), and Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), today led 16 members of the California Congressional delegation in a letter to Chairman Rich Leib of the University of California Board of Regents expressing concern about reports of racial discrimination and union busting practices at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, California.

“We write with concern regarding reports of racial exclusion and problematic employment practices at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, California,”the lawmakers wrote.

They continued,“Of the hotel’s over two hundred workers, UNITE HERE Local 11 reports that very few are African American. We are told that a roster the hotel provided to the Union for 2022 included zero African American workers. UNITE HERE further reports that the hotel has hired African American workers during the strike – but only to work as temporary employees through a staffing agency who lack the same job protections or benefits as full time employees. If true, this practice threatens to deepen racial disparities by sending the disturbing message that African American workers are welcome as employees, but only in second-class jobs that only exist to undermine unionized workers’ calls for better standards.”

The lawmakers asked for answers to the following questions by July 31, 2023:

  1. What policies does UC’s operator, Aimbridge Hospitality, have in place for compliance with federal laws regarding fair wages, equal employment opportunity, adequate pensions, and health care benefits?
  2. Given the commitment to inclusive hiring the hotel has made in its collective bargaining agreement, what steps will the hotel take to ensure permanent jobs for African Americans whom the hotel hired as temporary workers during the strike?
  3. What policies are the Regents undertaking to ensure that businesses owned by the UC system do not engage in predatory behavior and contractual violations?
  4. What new policies and practices is the UC system considering to adopt to enhance protections for workers and increase the diversity of the workforce at UC owned properties?

The letter is also co-signed by Reps. Judy Chu (CA-28), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Adam B. Schiff (CA-30), Jim Costa (CA-21), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Brad Sherman (CA-32), Katie Porter (CA-47), Raul Ruiz (CA-25), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-31), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Ted W. Lieu (CA-36), Ro Khanna (CA-17), and Norma J. Torres (CA-35).

To read the full letter, click here.