Tonight: Philadelphia Hotel Workers Hold Vigil for Boston’s “Hyatt 100”

Tonight: Philadelphia Hotel Workers Hold Vigil for Boston’s “Hyatt 100”

As part of a wave of actions across North America, workers bring the 150-foot “Hope Quilt” to Philadelphia – spotlighting pain and mistreatment of Hyatt housekeepers  

WHAT: Candlelight vigil with “Hope Quilt,” as part of a wave of actions in U.S. and Canada, calling for Hyatt to “Bring Back the Hyatt 100” housekeepers in Boston and end mistreatment of housekeepers in hotels across North America.

WHO: Philadelphia housekeepers and fellow members of UNITE HERE

Aracelly Arango, one of the “Hyatt 100” fired housekeepers from Boston

WHERE: Outside the Hyatt Regency Penn’s Landing, Dock St & Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia

WHEN: 5:00 p.m. Tonight, Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WHY: This week, thousands of workers in a dozen cities across North America are holding public demonstrations in solidarity with the “Hyatt 100” housekeepers in Boston. Hyatt fired 100 housekeepers from its three Boston-area hotels after asking workers to train their replacements from an outsourcing agency.  The incident has ignited a national controversy for the newly public Hyatt Hotels-based in Chicago-which launched an initial public offering of its stock on November 5, 2009.  

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UNITE HERE Local 634 Members Beat Back SEIU Raid By 2:1 Vote

Last week the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) announced the results of the election to represent the 2,300 cafeteria workers and noon time aides in the Philadelphia School District: members of UNITE HERE Local 634 voted by a 2:1 margin to stay with their union and rejected SEIU’s anti-union tactics.

After months of attacks directed by New York-based SEIU 32BJ, the PLRB counted 1121 votes for UNITE HERE Local 634 and only 551 votes for SEIU Philadelphia Joint Board.  There were 10 votes for no union and 198 challenged ballots.

Local 634 members had already made their choice clear months ago.  In March, Local 634’s Executive Board voted unanimously to stay part of UNITE HERE and leave the Philadelphia Joint Board.  In April, two thirds of the workers signed a petition remaining UNITE HERE Local 634 and rejecting SEIU again – just as workers could choose a union under the Employee Free Choice Act.  But SEIU wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Instead SEIU filed for an election, stalling the contract negotiations underway with the Philadelphia School District and subjecting workers to months of dishonest attacks.  And SEIU lost again.

Local 634 members are among nearly 30,000 workers across North America who have resisted SEIU raids and returned to or stayed with UNITE HERE, including the 2300 members of St. Louis’ Local 74 last month and the 2000 Delaware North company food service workers in August.

Local 634 members cook and serve food, supervise children, and keep them safe in nearly 300 Philadelphia public schools and early childhood programs.  The workers’ contract with the Philadelphia School District expired September 30.  Hundreds of Local 634 members rallied in September to demand a fair contract with the staffing and training they need to do their jobs and the wages and benefits they need to support their families.

Change is More Than The Money You’re Giving To These Bailouts

Okay, for the past few weeks we’ve been hearing about how the automakers in Detroit need taxpayer money to stay afloat. We’ve also heard tons about how our economy is strapped to the tracks in front of an incoming freight train, waiting to get crushed. O-Kay, now that we’re on the subject, why are the automakers, who provide millions of vulnerable jobs that employ whole towns, still begging for money while Citigroup have basically walked into the Congressional room and got it hand over fist? No, better yet, why are we bailing out any of these guys and still have not focused on our hard-working people losing their housing and their jobs? If the regular hard-working guy or gal is going to have to front the bill then why are these cigar-smoking, private jet-flying, big bank and insurance suits getting preference over the everyday American worker? Many of these companies willingly opted to make horrible choices by not investing in what the people have been demanding for: environmentally-friendly, cost-saving vehicles? Toyota made the right decision to follow the green path and are doing quite well. When we personally make bad decisions in our financial lives there’s no Congress there to save our butts and keep us from financial ruin. However, when Uncle Joey is losing his job, pension, and 401K from the company he has worked for 30 years he is being forced to help Capital Corporation # 27 when he can use the help for himself. I think Congress needs to get its priorities straight and focus on the American people and their foreclosed homes before they start giving a blank check to Jet-Flying, Wine and Hot-Tub, Mile-High Club CEO #10 without a plan to keep Joey the Worker’s job.