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Unions: High and Dry
Security: Liquid Borders
Industrial: No Bully For You
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Review: Hard Labo(u)r
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How To Run Society
This is the start of what is expected to be a nationally co-ordinated three city hotel workers strike - in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC - involving more than 30,000 hotel workers.
The union members in San Francisco announced this action, to last for two weeks, in response to the hotel employers demands for health benefit reductions and increased workloads.
Huge differencesThe UNITE HERE strikers say the talks have shown there are huge differences between the two sides over wages, pensions and the lenght of the next employment contract.
The four hotels where workers are on strike are the San Francisco Hilton, the Argent Hotel, the Crowne Plaza Union Square and the Mark Hopkins Inter-Continental.
8000 San Francisco hotel workers could be locked outThey are part of a group of 14 San Francisco hotels - employing about 8000 workers - who have banded together to negotiate with UNITE HERE members.
It's possible that the owners of the other 10 hotels will lock out their workers as the labour dispute continues. The lock out could happen as early as Friday.
Hotel industry now a global powerThe hotel industry has become a global power - their interests are not limited to one suburb, one city or even just one nation.
Australian hotel workers know the big hotel companies which dominate in the USA - Marriot, Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt - are also dominant players here.
Hotel corporations have amassed enormous bargaining power across the globe - that's why the dispute in the USA will have ramifications in Australia.
Hotel union workers in LA and Washington also campaigningHotel union leaders in Los Angeles and the national capital, Washington, DC, are also campaigning for fair contracts in their own cities; they've pledged their full support for the workers on strike in San Francisco.
Union workers in Washington and Los Angeles, have also authorised strikes, and have called on the hotel companies to return to the bargaining table in order to negotiate a fair contract.
Long term struggleUNITE HERE is prepared for a long term struggle to gain equality and genuine partnership with the global hotel giants.
The union members argue that some in the hotel industry are intent upon imposing cheap WalMart-like working conditions on their workforce.
Already in Los Angeles, the hotel companies unilaterally cut the company-paid health plan, forcing hundreds of families to live without any health care plan. In San Francisco, the companies are demanding workers pay more for their health care insurance.
Hotel companies trying to whittle away benefitsHotel union members in the USA argue that by keeping hotel workers separated city by city, the companies believe they can more easily whittle away the benefits that unionised hotel workers achieved many years ago.
Hotel workers work hard and play by the rules. They deserve to keep their foothold in the American Dream.
UNITE HERE is determined to do what it takes, on its own timetable, to prevent the WalMartization of hotel workers.
UNITE HERE is also committed to forging a strong partnership with these global employers to build a secure future for the hotel industry and its employees.
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