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Oaktree and Trinity Investor Alert from UNITE HERE Local 11: Los Angeles Times Article Alleges W Hollywood Hotel and Restaurant Failed to Prevent a Recurring Rat and Mouse Problem
[February 08, 2024]

Oaktree and Trinity Investor Alert from UNITE HERE Local 11: Los Angeles Times Article Alleges W Hollywood Hotel and Restaurant Failed to Prevent a Recurring Rat and Mouse Problem

Investors should be aware of issues regarding the W Hollywood hotel and its Sky Terrace restaurant, owned by Oaktree Capital Management and Trinity Investments, that present potential Environmental, Social and Governance risks. Over the past few months, some workers have submitted a complaint to Cal/OSHA reporting repeated sightings of vermin in food-storage or food-service areas, while other workers filed federal unfair labor practice charges alleging unlawful retaliation, interrogation, and other practices.

In December 2023, a Los Angeles Times article revealed disturbing allegations from workers at the W Hollywood's upscale Sky Terrace restaurant, which is operated by Mosaic Hollywood LLC. As reported in the article:

"Rats and mice scampering around stored food on shelves. Bags of flour and rice covered in what appeared to be rat feces, urine and bite marks. Rodents - sometimes dead - but often squirming and gasping for life inside glue traps. 'It was a rodent infestation,' restaurant worker Jhobani Hernandez, 33, said. 'This has just been the worst experience. Management knew about it and they just did nothing about it. That was the most irritating thing.'"

The article came out several weeks after several current and former workers filed a complaint with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health alleging that over the five preceding months, the W Hollywood's Sky Terrace restaurant had apparently failed to prevent the entrance or harboring of vermin, including rats and mice.

Further, Mosaic fired at least eight workers in the weeks following pickets, strikes, and other actions workers took to demand better pay and other conditions in a new collective bargaining agreement. Eight of those workers have filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the Mosaic fired them in retaliation for engaging in protected union activity. UNITE HERE Local 11, the union representing W Hollywood and Sky Terrace workers, has also filed other federal labor charges alleging that Sky Terrace managers threatened and coerced workers to resign from their membership in the Union, that they unlawfully interrogated workers about their union activity, and that they targeted a top union activist by first disciplining and eventually firing him. The charges are still pending investigation.

The W Hollywood also faces an ongoing labor dispute. Although 34 hotels have now reached agreements with Local 11 to resolve labor disputes that have included repeated strikes, picket lines, boycott activity and consistent press coverage, the W Hollywood has failed to do so.

Oaktree Capital Management and Trinity Investments investors should ask the firms the following questions:

  • Why did Oaktree and Trinity reportedly fail to prevent a recurring rat and mouse problem at the Sky Terrace Restaurant, and what steps will the firms take to prevent future vermin problems and protect the health and safety of patrons and workers?
  • Sky Terrace Restaurant faces federal charges alleging workers were fired for engaging in protected union activity. When will Oaktree and Trinity re-hire the restaurant workers fired from Sky Terrace and provide appropriate back pay to these workers?
  • Why have Oaktree and Trinity failed to resolve the labor dispute at the W Hollywood by agreeing to the same contract that 30 other hotels have signed?
  • What steps will Oaktree and Trinity take to guarantee labor peace in their other current and future hospitality investments that would protect investors from ESG risks?

UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona that work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers and airports.

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