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HOTEL NORMANDY WILL CONTEST UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES ALLEGATION BY LOCAL BRANCH OF NLRB; ISSUE COULD TAKE THREE YEARS OR MORE TO RESOLVE

HOTEL NORMANDY WILL CONTEST UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES ALLEGATION BY LOCAL
 BRANCH OF NLRB; ISSUE COULD TAKE THREE YEARS OR MORE TO RESOLVE
 MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The new owners of the Hotel Normandy in downtown Minneapolis will contest a recent "probable cause" finding by the local branch of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that the owners showed anti-union sentiment in their hiring practices.
 The local NLRB is expected to pursue an unfair labor practices complaint against the owners with the regional NLRB. The complaint could then move to the national NLRB and finally to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Appeals Court in St. Paul, Minn., a process that could take three years or more, said Tom Noble, Jr., vice president of the Hotel Normandy.
 At issue in the local NLRB complaint is the process used to hire new employees after Noble's father purchased the bankrupt hotel out of receivership last year. Said Noble, "The union status played absolutely no role in our hiring decisions."
 In 1990 the hotel, then called the Normandy Inn, went into bankruptcy and was closed. The hotel's staff of approximately 170 employees were terminated by the former owners at that time.
 Noble's father, Tom Noble, Sr., purchased the bankrupt hotel. "With 45 years of experience in Minnesota's hospitality industry, we decided to take the financial risk needed to turn this failed business into a success," Noble, Jr., said. "We agreed with local leaders who said downtown Minneapolis needs a moderately priced hotel with high-quality rooms and service.
 "A whole new approach to operating the failed hotel was needed," he said. "We needed a much more streamlined staff -- 90 to 100 employees, versus the former staff of about 170. We needed to attract more business travelers and provide the higher level of service they demand.
 "As the new owners of a business, we had every legal right to hire our own employees -- the best-available applicants matching the hotel's new direction and clientele," he said.
 "We might have considered applications from the former owner's employees if we had been free to hire people based on their qualifications and past performance."
 This would have been difficult to do under union pressure, he said. "The union would have wanted us to hire former employees based on seniority, and we could not build a successful business on that basis."
 He noted that his father has spent more than 45 years working with unionized employees in Minnesota. "As owners of the Normandy Inn before 1985 and as quasi-managers until 1990, we supported the employees' union representation," he said. "The only other hotel we own, the Sheraton Airport in Bloomington, has been a union shop since we built it in 1968, and the Normandy Inn-Duluth was a union shop for the entire time we owned it, 1977-82."
 "If the Hotel Normandy's current employees independently decide to unionize at any time, we will honor that decision," he added.
 He said he regrets having to hire an all-new work force at the new hotel, but said more than three-quarters of the hotel's former employees have found other employment since they were terminated by the former owners.
 The Hotel Normandy is succeeding under new management, he said. "Our occupancy rates are already above the downtown average and are increasing according to plan." He said that contrary to union allegations, all employees earn wages above the industry average and have health benefits.
 -0- 11/4/91
 /CONTACT: Tom Noble, Jr., of Hotel Normandy, 612-370-1400/ CO: Hotel Normandy ST: Minnesota IN: LEI SU: JS -- MN011 -- 0808 11/04/91 14:42 EST
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Date:Nov 4, 1991
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