Brown University to cease investing in HEI Hotels over labor complaints

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND A Brown University committee has recommended that the Ivy League school stop investing in HEI Hotels and Resorts, pointing to questions about HEI’s labor relations practices.

The Brown University Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policy says that Norwalk, Connecticut-based HEI has faced “a persistent pattern” of allegations of interfering with attempts by company employees to unionize.

Although HEI has not been found guilty of any violations of the National Labor Relations Act, the Brown committee says the repeated allegations raise concerns about whether HEI’s business practices are consistent with the university’s ethical principles.

“Brown University should refrain from reinvesting in HEI until the Corporation is confident that HEI adheres to our high standards regarding respectful and humane treatment of workers, and that workers at HEI-operated hotels are able to seek union representation without fear of intimidation,” says a statement from the committee, which includes Brown students, faculty and alumni. “We have also recommended that before making any decision to reinvest, the administration, with the assistance of ACCRIP, should carefully consider current matters relating to HEI in order to reach an informed judgment about labor/management relations and work conditions at HEI-operated properties.”