Ahhhh, nothing soothes like tension at Berkeley’s Claremont Resort and Spa. Along with your signature "Mayan Temple Journey” massage and exfoliation, or your "Moor Than Mud" bath, the Claremont also offers a simmering two-and-a-half-year fight between spa workers and management over the right to organize. Back in 2002, workers called for a boycott, and last weekend, workers picketed the resort for 27 hours. (That’s gotta make your session with the nutritionist a little uncomfortable.)

The workers appear to be on pretty solid ground in calling for a boycott, too -- a federal court in 2002 found that the Claremont’s owners had violated numerous labor laws, including illegally coercing employees to vote against a union, interfering with workers’ rights to organize, and prohibiting workers from talking about a union at the resort. The Claremont was also found to have illegally prohibited employees from making negative comments about management in 2003. Wow, sounds like a great place to work.

The Berkeley City Counsel has issued a resolution in support of the workers (.pdf), and various local businesses have honored the boycott, including Kaiser, Intel, and various departments of UC Berkeley. Last month, when Deepak Chopra went ahead and held a weekend seminar at the Claremont, despite being asked not to, he was faced with yoga protestors, "striking warrior poses and focusing on their breathing."

Personally, SFist believes that spa workers should be paid bonuses just for having to sit in a small, airless room all day, breathing in patchouli fumes and listening to New Age music. There's much better spas throughout the area for those of you with money to burn and shoulder tension to work out who want to support our workers this Labor Day. And finally, even if you aren’t the kind of person who feels strongly about picket lines, it seems that you really don't want to get a massage or full body mud wrap from someone who’s unhappy about working on you anyways.