For immediate release
December 3, 2004
Julius de Vera
Monterey, December 3, 2004. Following its November 18 call for a boycott of the Monterey Bay Travelodge, today UNITE HERE Local 483 has launched a website for travelers, travel planners, and interested community members with current and ongoing information about the boycott at www.boycottmontereybaytravelodge.info. A rally to announce the website will be held today in front of the hotel at 2030 North Fremont Street from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
“We urge everybody not to stay at the Monterey Bay Travelodge until the owner signs a fair contract,” said Juana Enriquez, Travelodge housekeeper and chief shop steward for UNITE HERE Local 483. The hotel’s owner, Kilsoo Seo of Bethel, Alaska, has eliminated all contributions to the employee health insurance and pension plans, while freezing hourly wages at $8.84 for his 13 unionized employees. The 19 children of the these workers at the Travelodge are now without health insurance. “We hope this website will let many people all over the world know about our struggle here in Monterey,” added Ms. Enriquez.
The Monterey Bay Travelodge contract with its 13 Latino housekeeping and maintenance workers expired on December 1, 2003, and is the only unsettled contract of 15 unionized hotels on the Monterey Bay with UNITE HERE Local 483. All of the other 14 contracts have been successfully negotiated within the past two years and call for full employee and family health insurance without co-payments, as well as wage and pension increases. Contract negotiations between Local 483 and the Travelodge continued through July, at which point Mr. Seo issued his “last and best” offer, demanding the end of his employees’ health and pension plans. The first of dozens of weekly community rallies in support of the workers at the hotel, which have drawn over 1,000 participants, began on July 29.
Local 483 President, Julius de Vera, said of the website, “If you are thinking about staying at the Monterey Bay Travelodge, this website will probably change your mind. If you want to learn about what’s going on at the hotel, this is a great one-stop source of detailed information. As our chant on the picket-line goes: Monterey you should be aware, Travelodge is unfair! We hope the website will make people more aware.”
The website includes special reports for travelers about the frequency and size of protests, as well as a report on recent crimes at the hotel. Viewers can also find links to news articles about the conflict and community organizations in support of the Travelodge workers.