Essex House Workers Stage Protest During Sean Penn's Movie Shoot
Well, this is sort of awkward timing for everyone: yesterday, workers at the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South (non-front-deskers, that is) staged a protest to call attention to "what they said was the hotel's failure to pay its banquet-room staff nearly $2 million in tips."
According to the New York Times, hotel workers in uniform stopped work entirely and "filled the hotel’s lobby with more than 100 red-frocked chambermaids, toque-topped kitchen workers and banquet waiters, casually chatting among themselves." A few feet away, Sean Penn and a film crew were filming a scene for an upcoming movie (we assume it was Fair Game with Naomi Watts). Yeah, kind of uncomfortable timing.
Per the Times:
...The strike was called to protest what the union said was the hotel's failure to heed an arbitrator's ruling in 2007.
The ruling required New York City hotels, bound by the union’s collective bargaining agreement, to pay their banquet-hall employees what amounted to millions of dollars in tips that the arbitrator said the hotels had improperly calculated since 2003.
Fortunately, the protest was peaceful enough that the film shoot wasn't disturbed (good thing; wouldn't want anyone going on Christian Bale on the set) and, even more fortunately, the dispute between the hotel and its workers will be settled by an independent arbitrator on Thursday.
[Photo: Patrick Andrade / New York Times]