When UNITE HERE launched the drive to save the Plaza Hotel several weeks ago, it was hoped that the campaign would draw the attention of the New York public. But it has done better than that, garnering worldwide attention. At a rally held outside the hotel on March 14, television news crews from Italy, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Japan joined local reporters in covering the event. More than 500 Local 6 members attended the event and were joined by supporters from all walks of life in New York.
Speakers included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, Father Peter Colapietro and Assistant Imam Tariq Shareek, who all said that the Plaza was more than a building and that efforts should be made to save the hotel and the employees who work inside it.
Hotel Trades Council President Peter Ward has reported that talks between the union and Elad Properties continue. The company has proposed creating a small luxury hotel on the 58th Street side of the Plaza that would save 150 of the Plaza’s 900 union jobs.
The union is demanding that a larger portion of the Plaza remain as a hotel and is joined in this demand by numerous elected officials, celebrities, historians, preservationists and other prominent New Yorkers.
In the weeks ahead the union will be engaging in arbitration and will appear with experts before the LPC to save some of the Plaza’s most renowned interior spaces and prevent them from being converted to retail use. There is a general membership meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 at Radio City Music Hall at 4:00 p.m. Seating is on a first come first saved basis. Following the meeting is a march to the Plaza and a rally.