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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-11-08 03:26 PM
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Several good unite here stories!
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April 11, 2008

Copy & distribute to all staff

Vol. 17, No. 6

Glendale Hilton Hotel Workers Win Union Recognition

On February 26, Local 11 in Los Angeles, backed by the Hotel Workers Rising campaign, brought home a milestone hotel organizing victory by winning recognition through a card count for a unit of 190 workers at the Glendale, California, Hilton Hotel. These workers were the first Organizing Committee to go public, in September 2005, as Hotel Workers Rising approached 2006. Angela Reid, a bartender at the Glendale Hilton, toured North America and became an inspirational symbol of Hotel Workers Rising.

Cafeteria Workers Walk Out on Strike at CBS, Vow Not to Return Until Food Service Provider Aramark Settles Fair Contract with Them

On March 27th, Aramark workers at CBS Headquarters walked out on strike. The workers have been without a contract since November 14, 2007. The average Aramark worker there has 9 years on the job and takes home just over $400 per week.

"These workers work hard to serve the staff of one of the largest communications companies in the world. Yet, many of them struggle to make ends meet. They're not asking for a lot - they just want enough to provide a decent life for their families," said Bill Granfield, President of UNITE HERE Local 100, which represents food service workers across New York City. By contrast, CBS Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone made more than $16 million last year.

The strike is the latest in a string of labor disputes at Aramark cafeterias in recent months. Late last year, food service workers at the New York Life building and 55 Water Street went on strike and spent 3 months on the picket line before Aramark finally agreed to a decent contract. On March 4th of this year, 35 Aramark cafeteria workers at two Bank of New York locations went on strike and have yet to return to their jobs. Aramark workers at the Fashion Institute of Technology have also voted to strike.

Workers rally for quality jobs at Indianapolis hotels

On April 5th, hundreds of hotel workers and members of UNITE HERE marched through downtown Indianapolis and held a rally in support of workers seeking a fair process to form a union at two area hotels, the Westin Indianapolis and the Sheraton at Keystone Crossing. Workers and union members were joined by community supporters, Congressman Carson and representatives of the Obama campaign, who spoke in support of a fair wage for Indianapolis hotel workers.

Currently, there are no union hotels in Indianapolis. The hotel and convention industry in the city is booming, but workers there are among the lowest paid hotel workers of any major city in the United States. For instance, housekeepers in Indianapolis start at about $7.50 an hour, whereas housekeepers in Chicago start at $13.55. Now workers are organizing to transform their jobs into good jobs with decent pay and affordable healthcare.

Hundreds Rally to End Violence against Striking Aramark Workers in Canada

UNITE HERE cafeteria and janitorial staff who work for Aramark at Seneca College's Markham campus near Toronto went out on strike on March 10th. Since that time, striking workers and their supporters on the legal picket lines have been repeatedly hit by cars entering campus. The York Region Police have been called to the picket line after the incidents, charges have been filed, and police are still investigating.

"What we're fighting for is a fair first contract," said Andy Chiu who works for Aramark at the college on the overnight cleaning shift and was struck by a vehicle. "We've worked hard serving food and cleaning this campus for the students. This company makes a lot of money, and we're simply asking for a living wage and to be treated with dignity and respect. No one deserves to be hit by a car for that."

The workers have been asking the foodservice giant to address low wages and benefits and want equity with other Aramark workers at Seneca College. After more than 8 months of bargaining and on the eve of a strike deadline, Aramark responded with a paltry 1.25% wage increase - or less than 10 cents an hour for most staff.

"We are simply asking Aramark to bring wages and benefits in line with other Aramark workers at Seneca," said Alex Dagg, Director of UNITE HERE's Ontario Council. "Aramark has refused to address these concerns and these workers are now showing, by putting their very safety on the line at this picket line, that they will continue to stand up for fair working conditions."

Many students have also been actively supporting the striking workers, signing petitions, spending time on the picket line and bringing warm drinks.

"The striking Aramark workers are the ones who make sure we can study in a safe, clean environment and prepare and serve food on campus," said Andrew Robinson, a first year student. "They deserve our respect and our support."

Rochester Labor and Clergy Leaders Begin Crowne Plaza Hotel Boycott

Rochester Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) rallied on March 1st as they initiated the boycott of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The boycott, announced last November, is the result of failed attempts to get management to agree to community standards that would allow workers to decide without management interference whether or not they want union representation. CLUE is asking all customers not to eat, sleep or celebrate in the hotel until management agrees to the community standards.

"In our quest to move toward a righteous resolution for the workers of the Crowne Plaza Hotel," said Rev. Roy Hedman, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church and one of the leaders of Rochester CLUE. "The workers at the Crowne Plaza have been trying for nearly two years to get management to respect their right to a fair process regarding unionization."

Since last November, CLUE interfaith volunteers have been reaching out to Crowne Plaza customers through phone banking, delegations, and extensive community outreach to inform them of the impending boycott and of the over $5 million that the hotel received in public monies to create non-poverty level wage jobs.

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