For immediate release
May 22, 2012
Commemorating the legacy of Harvey Milk on the occasion of his birthday, the labor union UNITE HERE is launching a campaign to promote LGBT and labor solidarity. This year’s Pride marks the first since the eruption of Occupy and other global movements for social and economic justice. Members of UNITE HERE will participate in dozens of Pride events this year in cities across North America, bringing with them a special message for all who march for justice: march with us.
UNITE HERE was the first union to ratify a comprehensive statement in support of civil and economic rights for LGBT people. UNITE HERE unions have made protections for LGBT rights and access to benefits for LGBT families a part of labor contracts covering workers in hotels, casinos and cafeterias in cities across North America. This year, UNITE HERE is participating in more than 30 Pride events and is launching a social media campaign to encourage participation in Pride by its union members, their families and community allies.
Several years ago, UNITE HERE launched Sleep With The Right People, a collaboration between the union and the LGBT community. The program was built to harness the collective consumer and labor power of these communities to fight for full equality for all people. LGBT travelers, who spend over $60 billion annually, have tremendous power to support workers’ rights by honoring picket lines, respecting boycotts, and patronizing unionized hotels.
Cleve Jones, longtime AIDS/LGBT rights activist and the driving force behind Sleep With The Right People, says, “The right wing and global corporations such as Hyatt want to divide us based on race, sexual orientation or immigrant status. But we refuse to be divided and we stand with all people that fight for full equality. We’re more than a market. We’re a movement.”
Currently, the Sleep With The Right People campaign is focused on encouraging LGBT travelers to boycott Hyatt. Hyatt has singled itself out as the worst employer in the hotel industry, replacing career housekeepers with temporary staff, imposing dangerous working conditions on its employees and firing several women shortly after they stood up for their rights on the job. Thousands of community supporters have endorsed the Hyatt boycott, including Equality California, Equality Hawaii, Mass Equality, the Gay Liberation Network, Harvey Milk Democratic LGBT Club, the National Stonewall Democrats, Pride at Work, the Test Positive Awareness Network (TPAN), Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, the Transgender Law Center, and many others.
For more information visit www.sleepwiththerightpeople.org.