For immediate release
July 7, 2011
As the LGBT community gathers for Pride celebrations and marches throughout the summer, UNITE HERE union members are participating in greater numbers than ever before, signifying the growing coalition between the labor and LGBT movements. UNITE HERE, which represents over 250,000 workers in the gaming, food service and hospitality industries, has participated in 27 Pride marches and festivals in the US and Canada this year.
UNITE HERE unequivocally supports full equality for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law, including the right to marry. 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, and has worked for the passage of marriage and civil union legislation, including the recent fight for full marriage equality in New York State.
Sleep With The Right People is a collaboration between UNITE HERE and the LGBT community that brings together our power as workers and consumers to make sure that hotels treat workers fairly. With LGBT travelers spending over $60 billion annually, LGBT customers have tremendous power to support workers’ rights by honoring picket lines, respecting boycotts, and patronizing unionized hotels.
“The LGBT community has been a strong ally to hotel workers by respecting our boycotts,” says Angela Martinez, a housekeeper at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency. “We’re hard workers, not robots or machines. The work for housekeepers like me has become harder. The beds are larger and heavier, and we are now expected to clean more rooms in less time.”
Cleve Jones, longtime AIDS and LGBT rights activist and the driving force behind Sleep With The Right People, says, “We in UNITE HERE are incredibly grateful for the support and the partnership of the LGBT community, especially to the many organizations and individuals who have honored the Hyatt boycotts.” Workers at 18 Hyatt hotels across the United States and Canada have called for boycotts of the hotels where they work. Nationwide, Hyatt has sparked controversy for its abuse of housekeepers and for replacing long-term employees with workers from temporary agencies.
UNITE HERE represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries.