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Hilton San Francisco Strike

Hilton San Francisco hotel workers strike

Apr 07, 2010

Hotel workers at the Hilton San Francisco walked off the job this morning, announcing a three-day strike in support of their efforts to negotiate a contract with the giant 1900 room hotel. Approximately 850 workers are participating in the strike, which began at 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, and will last until the first shift on Saturday morning. The striking workers are members of Unite Here Local 2, and include room cleaners, dishwashers, cooks, bellpersons, food servers, and others.

The work stoppage comes nearly eight months after contracts covering Hilton workers as well as eight thousand other San Francisco hotel workers expired. On January 5, during a demonstration that included 140 arrests in non-violent civil disobedience, workers at the Hilton called on customers to boycott their hotel. Despite mounting pressure from hotel workers, the Hilton Corporation has continued to press for a contract that would slash health coverage and retirement benefits, and would increase workloads.

“For months now we’ve been sending the message that we’re not going to let this company squeeze us any harder,” said Ringo Mak, a twenty-year food server at the Hilton. “By walking out today, we’re showing Hilton just how committed we are, and we’re reminding customers that they should find another hotel to stay.”

“Ironically, Local 2 and Mike Casey chose to strike the Hilton just hours after the hotel hosted a “Hotel Heroes” dinner to celebrate San Francisco hotel employees,” said Sam Singer, a spokesman for the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “It’s clear San Francisco hotels value their employees.”

The Hotel Council continues to urge Local 2 leaders to join hotels at the bargaining table to reach a contract negotiation before further tourist and convention business is lost. At least $5 million in convention business and $500,000 in city hotel taxes have been lost in recent months as a result of Local 2’s protest and intimidation activities. Employees have missed 5,000 work shifts due to union protests and pickets.

“Mike Casey can no longer claim that his union isn’t hurting the city of San Francisco as a whole,” Mr. Singer said.

“The union’s intransigence in these negotiations has caused employees to lose shifts and miss work, something no one can afford in this economy.”

The Hilton San Francisco is owned and operated by the Blackstone Group, which bought the Hilton Hotel chain in 2006 for $26 billion. Blackstone manages approximately $100 billion in assets, including Hilton, and recently reported having about $28 billion in available cash.

In addition to the Hilton, six other San Francisco hotels are under worker-called boycotts: the Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf, W Hotel, Westin St. Francis, Palace Hotel, and Le Meridièn. Members of Unite Here Local 2 continue to communicate with customers of these hotels urging them to move their business elsewhere. The Hilton strike is the fourth such strike since November.

Hilton San Francisco hotel workers strike
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Source: Unite Here! Local 2 /

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