For immediate release
December 16, 2010
Blackstone: The Grinch Stealing the Recovery from Working Families
Nationwide, hotel workers demand their fair share of Blackstone's recovery
WHAT: This holiday season, hotel workers across the country take to the streets to protest Blackstone’s refusal to share their economic recovery with the hard working families who make Blackstone their millions.
WHERE: Hilton Union Square Hotel, 333 O’Farrell Street (Between Taylor and Mason)
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, 2pm – 6pm
WHO: Hundreds of hotel workers and community allies demonstrate in front of the Hilton Union Square
WHY: More than 16 months after union hotel contracts expired, Blackstone has yet to propose a contract that San Francisco hotel workers, who earn an average of $30,000 a year, can afford. The Blackstone Group projects their revenues to increase by 50%: from $1.8 billion in 2009 to $2.7 billion this year. The Wall Street Journal expects compensation for Blackstone executives to climb 12% this year [WSJ, 10/11/2010]. According to hospitality industry analyst Mark Woodworth, "Recently released updated forecasts from Colliers PKF Hospitality Research reveal that a base has been established for very strong gains in both revenue and profits in the years to come. Most importantly, expectations for attractive industry growth over the next three to four years remain firm."
Industry analysts and Blackstone itself expect very jolly holiday seasons for years to come. San Francisco hotel workers continue to demand an explanation as to why Blackstone is seeking to lay off workers, freeze pensions, shift the burden of rising health care costs onto hotel workers and lock working families into a permanent recession.
"We are beyond angry," said Ingrid Carp, a 30-year cook at the Hilton Union Square Hotel, "We’ve been to the negotiating table so many times and Blackstone keeps proposing concessions we simply cannot afford. Why should we give up basic necessities when they’re blowing my tax dollars and my retirement on multi-million dollar parties and raises for those Wall Street executives?"
Recently, Blackstone reported to set aside, on average, $3.46 million for each corporate employee [FierceFinance, 11/9/2010]. Hilton Union Square’s workers, on the other hand, have proposed a contract that would only cost Blackstone $2.5 to $3 million each year to cover all 850 families. Management has refused to sign this proposal. Therefore, the worker-called boycott continues.
Similar demonstrations will occur in Chicago and Honolulu today.