San Francisco, CA -" More than 750 hotel workers and their allies took to the streets Labor Day, to demonstrate for a new contract and to call on customers to boycott 13 Multi-Employer Group hotels. They marched past several hotels ending with a rally in front of the Grand Hyatt San Francisco where 61 hotel workers, union leaders, and community allies were arrested while engaging in non-violent civil disobedience, blocking the entrance to the hotel.
Among those arrested were John Wilhelm (President/Hospitality Industry of UNITE HERE), Mike Casey (President of Local 2), as well as numerous hotel workers labor and community leaders. The 61 people arrested were cited with -�interfering with business-� (a misdemeanor), and released.
This demonstration comes more than a year after the workers’ contracts expired, and nine months after their employers were forced to end a 7 1/2- week lockout. Contracts affecting 8,500 San Francisco hotel workers expired in August 2004. Hotel workers have been fighting for several key contract terms, including: modest wage increases; fully-funded healthcare for workers & their families; continued pension benefits; organizing rights for other hotel workers in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties; and an expiration date in August 2006.
Last week the owner of the Westin St. Francis (the Blackstone Group) stated that it was prepared to accept the union settlement proposal. In response, the rank-and-file negotiating committee of Local 2 has decided to suspend the boycott at that hotel. The boycott continues at 13 other MEG hotels: The Argent; Crowne Plaza Union Square; Fairmont; Four Seasons; Grand Hyatt; Hilton; Holiday Inn Civic Center; Holiday Inn Express; Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf; Hyatt Regency; Mark Hopkins; Omni; Sheraton Palace.