Elizabeth Taylor, who is reported to be "delighted" with her $675-a-night suite at the new Vista International Hotel, yesterday rebuffed an effort by the Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union to get her to move out of the hotel because it is nonunion.
"Miss Taylor knows that there is some picketing, and she was asked if she would leave," said Taylor's secretary, Sandy Molloy. "She is extremely happy here and has no plans to move."
"We found it very presumptuous of the union to presume that she would move," said Molloy, "She is very comfortable here. The service is excellent, and we have been treated extremely well."
Ron Richardson, executive secretary of Local 25 of the union, which represents about 10,000 workers in Washington hotels, restaurants and cafeterias, said yesterday the union is considering further action against Taylor, possibly a boycott or leaflet campaign.
Local 25 has maintained a small picket line at the Vista since the 413-room luxury hotel, operated by Hilton International, opened last February at 1400 M St. NW. In its ongoing effort to get the public to boycott nonunion hotels, Local 25 has succeeded recently in getting several public figures, including singer Lena Horne and presidential hopeful Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), to spurn the Vista and other nonunion hotels.
Taylor, however, "does not get involved in anything like this," according to Molloy. "She just gets on with her private life. She is extremely comfortable, and politically she does not get involved" with labor matters.
Richardson said he was told by Molloy that Taylor resented the union's call asking her to move out of the hotel.
"If we could afford as many pickets as she's had husbands, maybe we could put pressure" on Taylor to get her to move, Richardson said.
Taylor moved into the Vista, on Aug. 14 and is expected to stay several more weeks during her Kennedy Center performance, with ex-husband Richard Burton, in Noel Coward's "Private Lives." In her Givenchy-decorated presidential suite with its elaborate king-sized mechanical bed, Taylor has been treated by Vista management to fresh roses, chocolate chip cookies and an ample supply of $120-a-bottle champagne.
"We have been ecstatic to have her here," said Vista's director of public relations, Colleen Evans. "Our employes are so excited about having a legend in the hotel. When she leaves at night for her show, there is a silence in the lobby and the employes are in awe."
The Vista, which employs more than 400 people, "is not an antiunion hotel," Evans said. "It is our employes' right to vote whether they would like to go union." She said she believes the Vista's wages and benefits are comparable to union hotels.
Richardson said Vista employes lack the union grievance procedure, and lose benefits if they work part-time.