Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Mayor threatens to join picket line!

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom threatened Monday to join hotel workers on their picket lines today unless hotel owners end a four-week lockout and allow employees to return to their jobs for a 90-day cooling-off period.

And guess whose in the news?
The dispute has already caused the organizers of one major convention to consider moving elsewhere. More than 5,000 delegates of the American Anthropological Association scheduled to meet Nov. 17-21 at the San Francisco Hilton might instead meet in Atlanta. Organizers of the convention said Monday they want to learn the response to Newsom's request. The Hilton is one of the four hotels where workers struck on Sept. 29 and one of the 14 where the lockout continues.

... The group sides ideologically with the union, and Brumfiel has written that "anthropologists cannot, in all good conscience, meet in facilities whose owners are using the lockout of low-wage workers as a bargaining tactic.''

There is a lot more the AAA needs to do to ensure that we can handle situations like this better in the future, but the SF Chronicle article makes it clear that we are already helping UNITE workers win this fight!

UPDATE: More in the Chronicle of Higher Educaiton:

Labor Strife at San Francisco Hotels Prompts Anthropologists to Tentatively Move Annual Meeting

Robert T. O'Brien, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at Temple University who maintains a Weblog about the meeting dispute, said in an interview on Monday that he would bring several resolutions to the Atlanta meeting. They would require the association to purchase insurance and negotiate opt-out clauses that would give it more leverage during similar disputes in the future.

Mr. O'Brien said that he was personally disappointed with the Atlanta arrangement, but he urged his fellow activists to have sympathy for members of the association's executive board. "They operated under a timeline, thinking about real issues, like whether we're going to be liable for $1.5-million," he said. "It's a question of picking one's battles. If we bankrupt the organization, then we won't be around to push the Hilton or the U.N. Commission on Human Rights or anyone else in the future."

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