Hotel workers to rally in San Francisco
By Emmett Berg, Bay City News Service
July 26, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Hotel workers and their supporters
plan to gather Thursday in Union Square for a march designed to
signal determination to resolve their nearly two year-old labor
dispute in their favor.
Although recent talks with the San Francisco Multi-Employer Group,
the entity representing 14 local hotels, have yet to yield a breakthrough,
the march takes place at a critical time for hotels and union
workers in other big cities around the nation.
New York City hotels recently came to contract terms with their
unionized workers. In Chicago, the union representing hotel workers
changed tactics to begin separate, rather than collective, negotiations
with at least two hotel chains, Hilton and Hyatt.
According to a published report, Chicago hotel workers took the
new direction because many were concerned they would be locked
out of their jobs if negotiations failed, a scenario that occurred
in San Francisco in 2004 following a two-week strike at four hotels.
Hoteliers in three other cities -- Boston, Washington, D.C. and
Los Angeles -- also are negotiating new contracts for union employees.
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Multi-Employer Group, Noah
Griffin, said today the hotels' contract proposals have been generous.
He said the impasse stems less from the hotels' salary and benefit
proposal and more from organizing tactics union leaders want to
enshrine in contractual language.
A representative of the Unite Here Local 2 union was not immediately
available for comment today. In a statement earlier this week,
union leaders said their members were fighting for wage, benefit
and safety improvements, as well as "the right of workers
at new San Francisco and San Mateo hotels to choose to join the
union if they wish to without being threatened, intimidated or
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