Unite Here Union Fails to File Petition to Rescind Approval of Robertson Lane

An illustration of the Robertson Lane project with the Factory building in the foreground (Hodgetts + Fung Architects)
A campaign by Unite Here Local 11 to block construction of the Robertson Lane project apparently has failed.

The hotel and restaurant workers union had a deadline of July 18 to submit a petition signed by 10% of West Hollywood registered voters demanding that an item be put on the Nov. 8 ballot to rescind the City Council’s approval of the project in June. According to City Clerk Yvonne Quarker, the petition was not submitted by the deadline.

The petition effort, and a counter effort by Faring, the developer of Robertson Lane, likely was expensive. The union paid people to go door-to-door in West Hollywood asking that they sign a petition to have the Robertson Lane project’s approval overturned. Faring paid people to solicit signatures on the sidewalk in what it called a “decline to sign” campaign that was billed as an effort to save The Factory. It also mailed flyers to local residents promoting its plans for The Factory and advertised the effort on WEHOville.

The Factory, a building that was designated historically significant as the location of Mitchell Camera from 1929 to 1946, and Studio One, a gay club, from the 1970s to the early 1990s, was the focus of the United Here campaign. After objections to its initial plan to demolish The Factory, Faring pledged to preserve the majority of the building and reposition it on the Robertson Lane property. However, United attacked Faring for what it said was the developer’s failure to acknowledge the bias against African-Americans and women that was part of the club’s history. Faring countered that it was planning to acknowledge that in a history of the building.

Unite Here’s campaign was seen as an effort to get Faring to guarantee that the operator of a hotel in a nine-story building that will be part of Robertson Lane would enter a contract with the union.

United Here itself has come under criticism for lobbying to exempt hotels with a unionized staff from having to pay the minimum wages for hotel workers established in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Santa Monica. Such union exemptions do not have to meet state and federal pay standards and are alleged to make hotel owners more receptive to unionization of their employees.

United Here’s communications director, Andrew Cohen, hasn’t responded to a call from WEHOville as of publication. Faring declined to comment on the matter.

  1. Idiots! After all of that. This is one of the smartest and well planned development projects I’ve seen yet. Yes I’m sentimental about Studio One, Rose Tattoo, and the backlot. But time goes on and I feel that this project is a wonderful tribute to the past while moving into the future.

    1. Yes, thankfully money was available to “talk” in protecting the rightful interests of a remarkable project against the unfounded claims of the challenger.

    2. Quality project talks.
      Developer who listens to the residents and shareholders talks.
      Union reps and their paid signature gatherers, given a script that had no basis in truth, doesn’t talk.

    3. The methods to derail the quality development used, were nefarious. Much like scammers might use.

      This development, not yet begun, but strongly embraced by Wehoian’s. The Union choose their methods, at a substantial cost, to attempt to derail the approved Robertson Lane project. Why at such a great cost.

      Usually, after the development is complete and staffed a union attempt to unionize. The Union wanted a promise of unionization before ground breaking. Wehoian’s were having none of this deceptive approach.

      I’m sure the union, at great cost, realized their approach and money were the wrong approach. Weho resident’s know what we want and we want this exceptional development.

      1. My point too. Without details, the time, money, mailings and signature gathering at the last minute SCREAMS something “Nefarious” A better word I could not come up with.

  2. As my well documented (via comments on WeHoVille) I am STRONGLY opposed to the HUGE PROJECT part of the massive development throughout WeHo.

    HOWEVER: After more than 20+ years living in WeHo, I’ve NEVER seen anything close to the massive high quality junk mailing SPECIFICALLY for this project
    Usually “the fight for the good” is always independent indivual citizens vs an Uber Wealthy Developer.

    THE SHEER NUMBER OF INTENSE PROPAGANDA OVER THIS ONE PROJECT supercedes any/every opinion I have had.
    I will NEVER vote or support anybody/project with the money and spending as this project has. There is something wrong/bad if this degree on non-stop expensive attempts to get/prevent any request of signature for anything.

    1. This project went though the process. The people had a chance at every meeting to voice their support/opposition. The vast majority that showed up to all the pubic meetings WANTED THIS PROJECT. The union came in and made threats to undermine what the community wanted and it failed miserably. Their efforts were countered by the developer and more importantly the residents. This underused, ugly area will be revitalized into a beautiful new space that the City and the residents will benefit from for years to come.

    2. #truth and all the shills on here singing praises of a total spin campaign on this project make me see how broken the #weho democracy is. The techniques used to squash this petition which is what democracy is about were very disappointing. Down to the picture on all the propaganda that came in the mail. That does not show the real size of this project and that in fact only a front portion on the factory will be inserted into this spot zoned 9 story, 241 room hotel. Whether one is for either side the techniques used to kill this petition is a sad point in the #weho democracy. In the end money bought this zone text amendment and the flyers and campaign that stooped it from going to the ballot. So #weho is clearly for sale to those who can buy their way into our mail boxes, city council and muddy the truth.

      1. Really? Shills? Just because the majority like the project, and you don’t, makes us shills? Wow you need to step outside your little rent controlled box, AND GET A GRIP 🙄

        1. The shills would be the sitting Council Member West Hollywood commissioners commenting on here. I dont need to hide my name either Phuleze. Look them up if you care. Why would these political appointees be singing the praises? To make thier council member happy= Shill. As far as rent control or your derogatory remarks about rent control. That what this city was founded on RENT CONTROL. Not high end luxury apartment. Get a grip on the city founding principles

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