For immediate release
November 13, 2009
Riddhi Mehta [email protected]
Ian Lewis [email protected]
"100 Years of Struggle" Demonstration Tonight
(San Francisco) – Palace Hotel workers ended their three-day walkout Friday morning, returning to their jobs at the luxury San Francisco property. However, workers continue to call on customers to boycott both the Palace Hotel and the Grand Hyatt, which was subject to a similar three-day strike last week.
To raise public awareness of the boycott, the hotel workers union UNITE HERE Local 2 is holding a special "100 Years of Struggle" demonstration in front of the Palace Hotel tonight from 4:30 to 7:00. The event commemorates a century of struggle by working people to raise standards in the hotel industry. It coincides with the Palace Hotel’s "100th Anniversary Gala," which the union is calling on customers to boycott.
The Palace Hotel has been the scene of numerous historic campaigns over its one hundred year history. It was the first hotel in San Francisco where workers won the right to be union, in 1918. That organizing victory was a landmark in the battle to win the nine-hour day and the six-day week. In 1963-64, the Palace was the site of massive civil rights demonstrations that finally forced the hotel industry to offer employment to African American workers. In 2004, the hotel was one of 14 properties to lock its workers out of their jobs – a confrontation that lasted 53 days, and led to a costly two-year labor dispute.
Today, the Palace Hotel’s ownership is controlled by one of the world’s largest hedge funds – Cerberus Capital Management. In additional to hotel real estate, Cerberus owns banks, retail chains, grocery stores, and gun manufacturers. Until recently, Cerberus also controlled Chrysler and GMAC – recipients of billions in government bailouts.
The Palace is operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts [NYSE: HOT], a global hotel management company. Starwood posted $2.6 billion in profits between 2004-2008. In the first nine months of 2009, Starwood generated another $180 million in profits. The company’s CEO received $4.8 million in compensation during 2008.