written by bendygirl at Thursday, July 03, 2008
Over 150 of workers from five hotels across Northern Virginia rallied with supporters outside the Hilton Crystal City Wednesday afternoon to launch a worker-approved boycott against unionbusting hotel management company Columbia Sussex. Protesters roared “Don’t check in, check out” until their voices went hoarse and pounded make-shift bucket drums with signs saying “Boycott Hilton Crystal City” while rush-hour traffic crawled past.
I use the UNITE-HERE site when planning a trip or having friends come in from out of town. I use it to first find Union hotels and if I can’t find a union hotel on the list, I can at least find a list to avoid, like the Jury hotels in DC. More from Union City…
Columbia Sussex purchased the Hilton Crystal City – Northern Virginia’s first union hotel – last year and immediately demanded increases in workloads, elimination of pensions and other benefits, and cuts in health insurance coverage. Workers – members of UNITE HERE Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board – have been without a contract since last October but have refused to give into management’s demands and voted in April to approve the boycott. “We have to keep fighting for everything we have already won, and this boycott is the best way to do it,” says Regino Romero, who has worked 14 years as a cook at the hotel. “We need to pressure them to win a good contract, with good raises and health insurance,” says housekeeper Ernestina Lopez. Wednesday’s rally precedes a rally for Sheraton Baltimore City Center workers next Thursday at 4:30P. Workers at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center hotel – also owned by Columbia Sussex – called for a similar boycott – still active – of their hotel last October after working without a contract for over a year.
Next up, Sheraton Baltimore City Center
101 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD
Jul 10 starts at 4:30 pm
The UNITE HERE Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board hosts a rally to support Sheraton City Center hotel workers fighting for a fair contract. Workers at the hotel have been in contract negotiations since 2006. Hotel workers voted in October to boycott the hotel in response to company demands to increase workloads, decrease benefits, and have the unlimited right to contract union work out.
For more info, contact the Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board, 410-659-2191.
One last note, Columbia Sussex owns and operates loads of hotels, including the Tropicana in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Not that I’m suggesting that you boycott these facilities, but you may want to mention the actions in NOVA and Baltimore to staff if you happen to be in these hotels, even if you’re just passing through.