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San Francisco | Labor & Workers

UNITE-HERE Stage Large Protest in San Francisco
by Bill Hackwell ( hckwll [at] yahoo.com )
Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM
Over 1400 members of UNITE-Here Local 2 and their supporters marched through the streets of San Francisco last night followed by a sit in at the Hilton Hotel by Union Square. 140 people were arrested for blocking the doors to the hotel for 2 hours.

UNITE-HERE Local 2, which has been waging various street actions against the largest hotels in the city, is now escalating the struggle by calling for a boycott of 7 major hotels including the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, Le Meridien Hotel, Palace Hotel, Westin St. Francis and the W Hotel. The workers are asking for a modest contract that would increase wages by 1.5%. These hotels are dug in against the union while having been able to produce soaring profits despite the economic crisis. The CEO for the Blackstone Group which owns the Hilton Chain made over a billion dollars in 2008 while the average union hotel workers make $30,000 a year. Local 2 is going to continue to come up with sporadic actions againgst these hotels and calls for all progressive people to come out in support.


§Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Supporting Organizations
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Sitting in at the Hilton
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Boycott Hilton
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Union Officials Arrested
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

Amongst the 140 people arrested were AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and John Wilhelm, International President of UNITE HERE (standing)
§Culinary Worker
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Support from ANSWER
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§140 arrested
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Blocking the Street in Front of the Hilton
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Boycott the Hilton
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM

§Anti Worker Hotel
by Bill Hackwell Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 1:54 PM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

i don't dismiss Boycotts . They can be very useful . But only as a tactic intended to suppliment the Main event A strike . Think about it. What boycotts have actually won a struggle ? In less than 10 years that is .When workers are fighting for badly needed immediate demands they don't have the luxury to wait a decade .
Also think about this . Other than conventions cancelling how many ordinary Hilton customers are going to be in solidarity with Hotel Workers ? When you are in the Upper Middle class or above and can afford the $200 plus a night stay in one of the most expensive cities in the world You would tend to symphasize with the Hotel corporations . You're probably a corporate exec yourself .
I think we it comes down to it Nothing subsitutes for some '' Old school '' class struggle , a Strike ! And by that i mean what where you do everything you can to block both customers and scabs form entering . (With thevmain emphaizis on the latter group )
Once that happens you might discover that, like someone wrote re this on another article , The SFPD really aren't Local 2's friends ! Even if their Police Benevolent (To themseles only ! ) Association has a seat on the Labor council .
by Hotel worker supporter
Monday Jan 11th, 2010 1:56 PM
>>What boycotts have actually won a struggle ?

-UFW Grape Boycott.

-2004-2006 San Francisco hotel workers contract fight. Boycott cost the hotel owners group over $100,000,000 according to several news sources. (google it)

>>I think we it comes down to it Nothing subsitutes for some '' Old school '' class struggle , a Strike !

In 2004-2006 hotel workers struck and boycotted. In the current struggle, workers have already struck and boycotted three hotels, more have been boycotted and I'm guessing more will be struck.

>>[Police] Association has a seat on the Labor council.

Check your facts, I don't think the police union has had a seat on labor council for years.

Campaigns against modern corporations require flexible strategies and comprehensive campaigns. The old school, "one day longer" strike may make sense in some situations but not all. Hotels are especially vulnerable to boycotts, because of the amount of large groups that use their facilities.

A good case against the old-school, "one day longer" strike strategy is the 2003 UFCW grocery workers strike in Southern California.
by Mario
Monday Jan 11th, 2010 11:40 PM
The part of my critique of Boycotts that you ignored was the length of time involved . The UFW Grape Boycott ? !2 years i think ? You can't have it both ways and say that Hotel Workers are suffering serious economic hardship but they can wait for years ?
As for the Police if ANY Labor leaders (or staff ) tell the rank and file that the Police are your friends they are at best , incrediably ignorant , or at worst lying their asses off !
One of the (many ) examples to the contrary was the Local 2 strike in the early 80's . Despite a City ordinace prohibiting cops from ''moonlighting '' during ''labor disputes '' over 100 directly worked for the Hotels as security (Ie strike breakers ) . Hundreds more ''officlally '' ran scabs across the picket line, threatened , busted and beat strikers etc.
IF there was a serious strike and serious attempts to block scabs they would do so again .
After all spying on activists , shooting unarmed BART passengers AND breaking strikes is what cops do !
by Hotel Worker Supporter
Thursday Jan 28th, 2010 5:06 PM
Strikes, even the most militant strikes from many different unions through history have lasted for years too. But, contrary to your accusation that somehow local 2 is against strikes, I have only seen the opposite to be true.

As mentioned in the first response, strikes have been a key part of the current struggle, and I'm guessing that once occupancies in the city are up again, the rolling strikes will start again and regardless, the member driven boycotts will cost the companies millions. This is all toppled with on the job direct actions, picket lines, etc.

I don't think anybody is fooled into thinking that somehow the police are friends of labor. You are right that off duty cops routinely (still) contract themselves out to hotel companies, not to mention all the perks the SFPD gets in terms of free meals from local hotels and restaurants... and this all in addition to what you pointed out, which is all truly fucked up. But the local 2 fight against the hotel companies is exactly that... a fight against the hotel companies. If the police get in the way of that, then I'm sure that they will be dealt with in a way that takes into consideration and prioritizes the real fight against the real enemy, the hotel corporations.

Not sure what you mean by a "serious attempt to block scabs", but if you are advocating some sort of violence against scabs, I think that in regards to the hotel dispute in the current climate, that is about the stupidest thing that could be done. Hotel workers may as well waive a white flag because the effect of such an attempt will no doubt, not only fail in the long run but pit much more than the right wing elements of the city against the workers.