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Friday, January 28, 2022

Treatment of Anchorage Community Leaders and Workers by the Sheraton is No Joke

It sounds like the beginning of a joke:

A priest, an African American woman and a “union thug” walk in to the Sheraton…

But, in reality, it’s no joke at all for the hard working hotel workers in Anchorage.

First, a little background.

Currently, two hotels in Anchorage are under boycott – The Anchorage Hilton and The Anchorage Sheraton. The simple reason is that their treatment of employees leaves a lot to be desired. There have even been huge rallies and demonstrations from the labor community, and concerned citizens from many areas in the community on behalf of these workers who dare to ask for things like safe workloads, and the opportunity to bring a sick child to the doctor.

The Sheraton’s treatment of employees is so bad that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has already ruled in favor of the union on sixteen separate Unfair Labor Practice charges, with 32 more currently pending before the board.

The Sheraton recently filed a petulant lawsuit in which they tried to petition the court to ban legally protected activities like boycotts and picket lines.  Yes, they tried to basically illegalize workers’ rights to protest poor working conditions. The citizens of the United States fought for that right long ago, and won. Yes, Sheraton, unions are still legal and allowed to protect people, and a federal judge tossed that lawsuit out on its ear for just that reason.

The community is outraged enough to have cost the Sheraton almost $700,000 in business this year alone, and is having an affect on them. And that would be the point.  Groups like the Alaska Nurses Association, the National Education Association, the Anchorage Archdiocese, Congregation Beth Shalom, and others, have canceled events there. A host of private citizens outraged by the policies and practices of the Hilton and the Sheraton urge visitors to book rooms in other local hotels, like the Captain Cook. Those who are anti-union like to talk a lot about the free market. Well, there’s the free market in action.

So, back to the story.

On Tuesday, a group of Anchorage civic leaders composed of the Alaska NAACP president Wanda Greene, the head of the Anchorage office of the APEA-AFT Dennis Geary, and a priest from the Archdiocese decided to pay a visit to the new General Manager of the Sheraton – one Mr. Denis Artiles. They came to deliver a message of community concern over the treatment of the workers which now include punitive scheduling and assignments that are relative to the workers’ union activities.

The moment the word “union” was mentioned, Mr. Artiles threw the three community leaders out of his office.  Yes, you heard right. The conversation ended, and the group was told to contact Sheraton’s attorney. “Who is the attorney?” they asked. If we are to believe the General Manager, he doesn’t know who the attorney is, but believes they are “somewhere in Atlanta.”

So, the new General Manager from outside, the giant hotel owner in Texas, and the mysterious legal counsel somewhere in Atlanta (we think) are allied in their mission to continue the mistreatment of Anchorage residents on the job.

You can hear the segment about this incident on “Thursdays in the Mud” on KOAN with Shannyn Moore HERE.

(Photos of Sheraton protest by Melinda Taylor)










21 Responses to “Treatment of Anchorage Community Leaders and Workers by the Sheraton is No Joke”
  1. Baker's Dozen says:

    We have a Double Tree in town (by Hilton) but no Hilton or Sheraton. They aren’t high falutin’ enough for Santa Barbara, I guess.
    We do have 2 Motel 6’s, however. The very first Motel 6 was started here in Santa Barbara and is still in operation right across from the harbor. One of the best locations in town.

    Only the best for Santa Barbara!

    • Really? says:

      I’ve got fond memories of Santa Barbara from spending part of my childhood years in Goleta. We would drive to Santa Barbara for church and afterwards have a meal at The Fig Tree, which later became The Blue Onion, (a big tree grew in the middle of the restaurant). Sometimes we would visit the harbor which was always entertaining. We often swam at the Plunge??..And I do remember the beautiful old classis looking motels along the coast and the artists displaying their creations.

  2. North of the Range says:

    Anchorage online property records show the Sheraton’s owner as Ashford Hospitality Ltd of Dallas. This company is also known as Ashford Hospitality Trust and related names. If this is current information, then a view of the board members, particularly the CEO, goes a long way to explain the entrenched anti-union attitude reflected here.

    According to, the CEO has donated to, among others, the Senate Conservatives Fund, Scott Brown, Thune, Rubio, Fiorina, Angle, Ayotte, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul…. you get the idea.

  3. bubbles says:

    Verizon workers are on strike. please support them any way you can. here is a petition if you care to sign it. i was a union member all my working life and am horrified to see what Verizon has done to the former New York Telephone company (NYNEX).
    i believe i will go march with my former co-workers and hope i don’t arrested and thrown in the clink.

  4. wendy says:

    I have not attended any Anchorage Opera Guild Brunch with the Stars events in over 3 years because they refuse to move the fantastic event from the Hilton. Weird since the AO uses union labor.

    • slipstream says:

      Yeah, that must be why I have not gone to any Anchorage Opera Guild Brunch with the Stars events lately . . . .

  5. Indigo Dancer says:

    Sheraton and Hilton are boring hotels anyway– they are like walking into the canned food section of a grocery store where everything has different labels but still look the same. Stay at a B n’ B in DownTown! The Sheraton is next to the cemetery and is in the icky section, so why bother? The Hilton is near some swank bars if I remember correctly, but there are better or the same hotels close by. Both should just close and free up hotel space to places with better personality and who treat their workers better.

    • Pinwheel says:

      Indigo Dancer:

      What a great description of these hotels. “they are like walking into the canned food section of a grocery store where everything has different labels but still look the same.”


    • Really? says:

      Thank You.

  6. Village Reader says:

    I’ll be passing this on to the school district here in my region and others through the state on my list. Thanks for posting.

    • AKMuckraker says:

      Thank you! And thanks to all who spread the word. Alaska solidarity.

    • Really? says:

      Let’s make sure The Anchorage Sheraton and The Anchorage Hilton are not on the list for hotels to stay in in Anchorage when Democracy for America is in Anchorage this September 17 & 18.

  7. Alaska Pi says:

    I was so glad to see that revenue was down enough to pinch em in the tush.
    I am so glad to see this post and to know you and Shannyn are out there keeping the spotlight on them too.
    Pffft on the Sheraton and the Hilton and all their shadowy corporate minions who think it’s good business to treat their employees like dirt.

    • fromthediagonal says:

      Alaska Pi:
      I am so sorry we could not meet up during my stay in Juneau. My little grandson compensated for being away from his family in Florida by being “under my armpit”. We had a great time though and as you know, the weather cooperated beautifully. I may return to your domain before my time runs out, but in the meantime, I shall look for your comments… Ing

      • Alaska Pi says:

        (((fromthediagonal))) !
        And we do not have a Hilton or a Sheraton here either, even, as well and also, too to mess up the doings.
        Make your time last til we can stand in the wildflowers together, my friend.

        • fromthediagonal says:

          I thank you and hope both our wishes may be granted! Ask Bear Woman! She knows!
          No hotel for us, but a small B&B minutes from the glacier, with wonderful hosts. There was so much to learn and experience in that magical landscape, including riding the Captain Cook upTracy Arm and the Otter float plane up to Taku Glacier Lodge. Bears and calvings and whales… oh joy!

    • dz says:

      Couldn’t help out with the Sheraton boycott in AK but we managed to cancel our Sheraton stay in Sacramento. 2 rooms. With a minor amount of surfing, found an adorable B&B at nearly half the cost w/breakfast included!!

  8. Zyxomma says:

    I am so very tired of the demonization of organized labor. Yes, they got involved with organized crime way back when, but that was because the OWNERS were hiring private armies (and buying police) to beat, intimidate, and terrorize workers.

    The only thing I regret about developing a freelance/entrepreneurial career path is that I never got to join a union. I had to content myself with belonging to a family chock-full of union members.

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