Dear Local 8 member,
In a show of worker power, over 1,400 hotel workers in King County will renegotiate their union contracts in the summer of 2011. We successfully lined up our hotel union agreements to expire at the same time in order to maximize our strength. We have an exciting year to look forward to.
The hospitality industry’s response to the economic crisis has been to cut back staffing and make workers do more work with less resources and less time available. Now, despite forecasts stating that the hotel industry will return to record profits in 2012 and 2013, employers are trying to permanently lock workers into this recession. As a response, UNITE HERE members in cities like San Francisco, Chicago, Honolulu and Los Angeles, and other cities are fighting back. They are determined to only accept contracts that strengthen their union, give them a fair share in the economic recovery, and allow non-union workers to organize.
We have an opportunity to join their struggle in 2011.
In order to win and improve standards in our region, we have to continue building our union in every workplace. By challenging employers through worker delegations and jobsite actions, we are in control and we change the power dynamic at work. When we stand up at the jobsite together, we win. This collective strength will then give us the power we need at the bargaining table.
You may have noticed that we started early to prepare for the upcoming fights. Key leaders at every jobsite have already joined the union committee and many more will follow in the coming months.
But in order to lift hotel workers back up into the middle class, we need to do more than just renegotiate existing union contracts. We all, members and staff alike, have to fight together for union growth and make organizing the unorganized our top priority. More than any other factor, the quality of hotel jobs in the Puget Sound region will depend on our efforts to bring more workers into our union. Strength in numbers will be necessary to stop cutbacks and win better wages, benefits, workload protections, and respect on the job.
I am excited to continue working with you to make the hospitality industry a better place to work.
Erik Van Rossum
Secretary Treasurer, UNITE HERE Local 8