On Friday, June 10, over 400 hospitality workers marched and rallied in downtown Pittsburgh, calling on the hospitality industry to value workers’ contribution in Pittsburgh’s economic rebound and success.
The marchers were members of UNITE HERE Local 57, Pittsburgh’s union for hotel, gaming, food service, and hospitality workers. They were joined by hotel, food service, and gaming workers from Erie, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago as well as community leaders, including Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd.
Pittsburgh’s hospitality industry is well-positioned for an economic rebound, with recent success in establishing itself as a major tourist and convention destination with the G-20 meetings and the Stanley Cup play-offs. Nationally, hotel companies are reporting better than expected profits and growth projections for 2010 and beyond. Local 57 members and their allies called on the Pittsburgh hospitality industry to raise standards for Pittsburgh workers as the City sees an economic rebound.
"I’m marching to get the respect that workers deserve," said Local 57 member Eric Toal, a bartender and concession stand worker at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Mario Davis, a Local 57 member and worker at the Omni told the crowd assembled at Mellon Square, "We are not only a strong, fighting union, but we are also part of a movement that is fighting for equality and justice."
Henry Tamarin, UNITE HERE International Vice-President told the crowd, "Across the country, we are telling companies that they cannot lock workers into the recession. As the hospitality industry rebounds, workers must be part of the economic recovery. UNITE HERE workers from across North America are standing with the members of Local 57 in Pittsburgh."
Today’s march in Pittsburgh comes the day after protests by hotel workers in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver, BC.
UNITE HERE International Union represents 300,000 workers in the hospitality, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, laundry, and airport industries across North America. UNITE HERE Local 57 represents hotel, gaming, food service, and hospitality workers throughout Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.