Hospitality workers create PE shame list

A union of North American hospitality workers released a list naming responsible and irresponsible GPs based on the labor practices at their properties. 

UNITE HERE, a union of North American hospitality workers, released a list naming responsible and irresponsible private equity and private real estate fund managers in order to help pension funds and institutional investors make “smart decisions” about where they invest.

One list identifies socially responsible investment managers while the other names those currently embroiled in labor disputes. In creating the list, UNITE HERE analysts evaluated managers by their responsiveness to outreach, the labor disputes at hospitality properties or portfolio companies and their track record of ensuring “labor peace.”

Lone Star Funds was placed on the “irresponsible” list due to issues at the recently acquired Hotel Burnham in Chicago. In November, federal charges were filed with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that hotel management threatened and intimidated Hotel Burnham employees seeking to organize.

“We are trying to win respect at work. When we raised our concerns with hotel management, they said the owner [Lone Star Funds] was the one who called the shots. Right now, Lone Star won’t talk to us,” said Evan Demma, a server at the Hotel Burnham according to a UNITE HERE statement.

Also on the “irresponsible” list are The Carlyle Group, Ares Management, Walton Street Capital, Prudential, KSL Capital, Lowe Enterprises, UBS Realty, Garrison Investment Group, Olympus Partners, Crow Holdings, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors, Northwood Investors, Clarion Partners and Dune Capital.

The Blackstone Group appears on the “responsible” list for practices at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. When the firm acquired the property in 2014, it pledged that employees would keep their jobs and benefits through the transition. Workers say Blackstone has followed through on its promise, and that good wages and fair workloads allow them to focus on providing quality service to ensure return business.

The other managers deemed “responsible” are Apollo Global Management, TPG Capital, Angelo Gordon, Rockpoint Group, CIM Group, PCCP, Stockbridge Capital, AFL-CIO BIT/HIT and HEI Hotels and Resorts.