For immediate release
January 24, 2005
770.306.8856 or 773.332.0660 mobile
770.306.8856 or 831.359.0952 mobile
InterContinental Group Driving Force behind San Francisco Lockout
(Atlanta, GA) – On Tuesday, January 25, 3pm, members of Atlanta’s religious and labor community will gather to announce their support for San Francisco hotel workers at a press conference. The press conference will be held at the North American headquarters of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, on Ashford Dunwoody Road and Ravinia Drive. UNITEHERE will announce the boycott of the InterContinental Buckhead and Indigo hotels because of their corporate behavior in San Francisco.
Over four thousand San Francisco hotel workers were locked out of their jobs for 53 days in late 2004. InterContinental was the driving force behind the lockout and the proposal to severely increase worker health insurance payments. The corporation initially appealed the state’s awarding of unemployment benefits to locked out hotel workers. InterContinental, along with other hotel companies, rejected requests by the Mayor and clergy members to end the lockout, and prevented workers from using joint company-union funds for health coverage during the lockout.
Blanca Limon, a housekeeper at a San Francisco hotel, said “When the lockout happened, we learned that it was InterContinental that pushed for it. They just forced us out on the street, out of work and we were very scared for our income and health insurance benefits.”
The InterContinental Hotels Group is among the largest hotel corporations in the world. The company operates five of the fourteen hotels that were involved in the San Francisco lockout. The company also recently opened two new hotels in Atlanta: the flagship InterContinental Buckhead and the Hotel Indigo. Neither hotel is unionized.
“Hotel workers, regardless of city, race, ethnicity, or country of origin, need jobs that allow them to support their families and communities. It is not acceptable that hotel workers who work full time earn poverty wages and have to use public assistance,” says Reverend James Orange, veteran civil rights leader. “African – Americans recognize the struggle for dignity and respect by hotel workers as similar to the struggles we went through during the civil rights movement.”
Together, the top hotel corporations (such as InterContinental, Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt and others) earn over $1 billion per year in profits. The national median wage for hotel housekeepers is $7.85 per hour, or $16,328 per year.
UNITE HERE is the union of hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile and laundry workers. The union represents nearly half a million workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
To learn more about the Hotel Workers campaign, visit www.hotel workersunited.org. If you have questions, or would like to arrange an interview, please call Alex Bonick at 770.306.8856.