Interview: The Wet One
Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Unions: Demolition Derby
Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
Politics: American Jihad
Health: Secret Country
Review: Walking On Water
Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
Month In Review
The Locker Room
The Legacy of 11/9
The CFMEU Race Debate #2
Keeping it Clean
Sue the Leaders?
Wrong Way, Go Back
Shame on Murray
Use or Abuse of Long Term Casuals
Speaking in Tongues
I Walk The Line
This is Jesse Jackson speaking to you from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters in Chicago.
I wish I could be with you in person, to support your cause, but this message will help bridge the many miles between us.
I have consistently supported working families.
I have supported the right of workers to organize and act together to improve wages, benefits and working conditions.
I too have walked the picket line, marched with hotel workers
I have walked the picket lines, stood at the plant gate, and helped negotiate the settlement of difficult labor conflicts.
Recently I marched with Hotel Workers in Toronto, Canada, where H.E.R.E. Local 75 was campaigning for a new contract.
I know that low-wage workers, especially recent immigrants, feel intimidated by the wealthy executives and high-priced lawyers of the corporations.
I also know that there are many people around you who support you and your needs.
Many of them are in the same kind of situation - overworked,
underpaid, vulnerable and stressed.
They share your condition and your goals.
In unity there is power
They need to come together with you - in unity there is power for
You need to reach out to them, and ask them to stand with you.
The churches have a moral purpose. They will support you. Enlist them in your struggle.
The civil rights movement here in the United States is the record of the churches taking action, moving from conversation to demonstration to reconciliation.
Dr. Martin Luther King provided leadership to the churches - black, brown and white - to join the fight.
When he was assassinated in April 1968, he was leading a campaign on behalf of striking garbage workers.
Other organizations in the broader community also support you.
Enlist the broader community in your struggle
Enlist them in your struggle.
There are groups who advocate for civil rights, for women's rights, for quality health care, for better education, for quality childcare. They all have goals that fit with yours.
Your dispute with the Hilton Hotel in Sydney is not just a local issue.
Like many large corporations, Hilton is a world-wide chain with a world-wide perspective. You are already an international workforce.
You must adopt a world-wide perspective, and work toward a more comprehensive labor movement.
I am outraged
I want you to know that I am outraged that Hilton would close the Sydney hotel and throw aside its loyal workers while it invests millions of dollars in refurbishing the building.
Workers cannot be ignored. Workers deserve respect and their needs recognized.
If the hotel must close
If the hotel must close its doors for renovation, then workers need support:
1. There should be more generous redundancy compensation for workers put out of a job. These workers should be covered until they can come back to work.
2. There should be priority listing for these workers to be rehired when the hotel reopens.
3. There should be a plan to include casual workers in an out-of-work compensation plan. Casual workers benefit the company by working flexible hours, and get fewer benefits themselves. That should be reversed.
4. There should be retraining and placements services made available to all the workers, not just the top echelon, for those that need to find alternative work.
5. Most importantly, there should be an enterprise agreement, a labor contract, with the Hilton Hotel. When there are problems and grievances, there should be a requirement that the company pay attention to the needs of the workers. When the hotel reopens, it should reopen with a contract in place, guaranteeing fair treatment, wages and benefits for all.
Hilton Hotel is not going to give you what you want
Now comes the important message: the Hilton Hotel is not just going to give you what you need without effort.
That would be, as Frederick Douglas said, like the farmer who wants crops without plowing the fields and sowing the seeds, and to have rain without the thunder and lightning.
Now you need to organize. You need to build your union and your community coalition. You need to reach out to your neighbors and friends.
This struggle can be won.
You can make it happen.
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