For immediate release
November 16, 2004
212-332-9376 or 917-533-4050
San Francisco hotel workers kicked off the job join New York area union members to say
When: Thursday, November 18 – 3:30 PM
Where: Barclay InterContinental Hotel 111 East 48th Street (b/t Park & Lexington Ave)
Who: 1000 hotel workers, union members and leaders of UNITE HERE; Locked out hotel workers from San Francisco
Why: UNITE HERE will hold a large rally to demonstrate that “Tourism works because we do!” The action will illustrate the connection between hotel workers in San Francisco and those here in New York. The Barclay is operated by the InterContinental Hotel Group, which also operates the Mark Hopkins InterContinental in San Francisco, where workers are locked out indefinitely.
Background: Hotel workers are essential to the tourism and business travel industries in every city in America. Too often, their hard work is taken for granted. Hotel workers throughout North America are struggling to make jobs in the hospitality industry a road to the middle class, not a dead end in poverty. New York City hotel workers are part of that struggle and work for the same big companies (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental).
Since October 13, more than 4000 hotel workers have been locked out of their jobs by 14 San Francisco Hotels. Despite a request by San Francisco’s mayor to adopt a 90-day cooling off period and let the workers back in, the hotel association has refused. The mayor has responded by joining the picket line and vowing that the city of San Francisco would boycott the 14 hotels by not sponsoring any city events in any of them.
Throughout the country, hotel workers are showing their strength and solidarity through actions like these. Workers have done everything from wearing campaign buttons and delivering petitions to management, through getting arrested in acts of civil disobedience. Last week, activists in both Baltimore activists and Seattle were arrested for their efforts to raise awareness of the lock out. San Francisco workers have put up picket lines at hotels in Monterey and Waikiki operated by the same companies that have locked them out. Because local workers would not cross those picket lines, the hotels affected have had significant service problems for the duration of the picket.
“Our members are showing their strength and support throughout North America,” says John Wilhelm, President/Hospitality Industry, UNITE HERE. “Tourism only works when workers are on the job, and sometimes we have to take to the streets to remind people of that truth.”
For more information on this action, please call Amanda Cooper at 212-332-9376. To learn more about the Hotel Workers United campaign, visit www.hotelworkersunited.org. To get more information about labor unrest at specific hotels, visit www.hotellaboradvisor.info.
UNITE HERE is the merged union of hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile and laundry workers. The new union represents nearly half a million workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about us at www.unitehere.org.