Thursday, January 07, 2010
Under their last contract, members of Local 2 UNITE-HERE enjoyed full health benefits with low copays. The management of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, the Grand Hyatt, the Palace, the Westin St. Francis, and the W Hotel want any new contract to require workers pay for their insurance.
The workers -- roomcleaners, cooks, dishwashers, bussers, bellpersons, servers, and bartenders -- claim they can't afford any takeaways. They turned out on Tuesday to urge a boycott of the Hilton. About 160 volunteers were arrested in a peaceful sit-in.
Labor's big guns were on hand. That's AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the left alongside UNITE-HERE President John Wilhelm.
Many labor stalwarts turned out in support as did health care activists.
There were at least 1000 marchers.
In this tourist town, these folks are what a large fraction of our stable working class looks like. Trumka and Wilhelm seem in this context a throwback to a union movement that was very different in race, ethnicity and gender from the core of today's. But on Tuesday, they were there in solidarity where they were needed.