A strike by hotel workers in LA, SF, and DC will probably start early next week. The crucial demand by workers is for a two year contract which would expire in 2006. This would insure the contracts for all hotel workers nationwide would then expire on the same date, a major advantage in dealing with the multi-nationals who run the hotel chains.
Unite Here, the union, is smart and savvy, and has been lining up community support nationwide. ANSWER LA, for example, will “adopt” one hotel one day a week and bring people to the picket lines. On the first two days of the strike, the union asks everyone to join the picket lines. Expect several actions nationwide early on, with mass civil disobedience and arrests.
Among other demands, the union wants work schedules, which have been drastically increased due to staffing cutbacks, reduced to something manageable. They also want the hotels to hire more African-Americans. Y’see, a while back, the hotel chains began hiring primarily immigrant women of color, in hopes they would be more malleable. Were they ever wrong! One union organizer, an Anglo, says “these are the strongest women I’ve ever met.”
Now these same immigrant women want the chains to hire more African-Americans. That’s what is known as “solidarity!”