On July 7th over 300 members of the UNITE HERE union and community and other labor supporters marched on and picketed the Grand Hyatt hotel in downtown San Antonio. The workers have chosen to cancel their participation in a National Labor Relations Board supervised election citing that many of the hotel's workers had been intimidated by union-busting consultants.
On September 4th, a community delegation attempted to attend a hearing for fired hotel worker Gabriel Morales. Morales, a leader of the union attempt to organize, was fired for being one minute late to a mandatory meeting. The delegation reminded his former boss and security that the Grand Hyatt was built on City of San Antonio property with city funding, thus the community felt it has a right to intervene in Morale's unfair termination. The delegation was ordered out of the hotel on threat of being arrested but promised to return soon. Despite major labor support for his election, Mayor Julian Castro has remained silent on the goings on at the Grand Hyatt.
The organizing campaign at the Grand Hyatt has great importance as local hotel and restaurant workers are exploited and abused on the job. It is hoped that when the Grand Hyatt workers succeed in getting a fair labor agreement other hotel workers in the city will follow suit. This campaign also points out the need for passaage of the Employee Free Choice Act by Congress. UNITE HERE had sign up 62% of the eligible Grand Hyatt workers, but the hotel management has refused to accept this as evidence of union interest. Under the Employee Free Choice Act proposal, such a card sign up would suffice for union recognition.
The Grand Hyatt workers deserve the full support of all trade union activists as well as other progressives. Please call the manager at the Grand Hyatt (Tom Netting) and demand that he stop his violation of the worker's right to organize! He can be reached at: 210-224-1234.Your support for these courageous workers will be most appreciated.
- Frank (Pancho) Valdez is a veteran civil rights, labor and peace activist since 1965