If you like ALA controversies, try this one relating to their decision to use the Marriott Hotel near Moscone Center in San Francisco as the headquarters hotel for this year\'s annual conference. The decision was made quite a while ago, but not before it was widely known that Marriott was under a boycott for labor troubles. The boycott is endorsed by many important groups city officials, including the Mayor. Read on for an open letter regarding this situation.
February 14, 2001
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
You may be aware that the American Library Association has chosen
to use the San Francisco Marriott (Moscone Center, downtown) as
its headquarters hotel for the upcoming conference in June. The
ALA Executive Board is aware that they may be forcing you to
cross picket lines and patronize corporate lawbreakers, even
though they were fully aware of the situation when they signed
their contract with the hotel back in 1997. This was done after
we had demonstrated at the hotel during the ALA convention that
We are asking for your help in pressuring ALA to move its
headquarters to another hotel and cancel all events held there.
The San Francisco Marriott is the site of the largest and longest
running labor dispute in the city. In 1980, when Marriott was
allowed to develop this hotel on city land, one of the city\'s major
conditions was that Marriott would not actively oppose unionization.
However, in 1989 when the hotel opened, Marriott reneged on that
Nevertheless, in 1996, a majority of Marriott employees chose the
union. Since then, over 120 negotiation sessions have taken place.
Months of escalating and continuous actions culminated in a 2-day
strike in July 2000. There are regular and ongoing demonstrations.
In addition, the National Labor Relations Board, an agency of the
Federal Government, is prosecuting Marriott for just under 100
labor law violations including:
- illegally firing workers supportive of the union
- discriminatorily denying wage and benefit increases to
employees represented by the union
- bargaining in \"bad faith\"
This past Labor Day, 800 Marriott workers and community supporters,
joined by religious and community leaders, demonstrated outside Marriott
to launch the boycott. Mayor Willie Brown, members of the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors, President Pro Tem of the California State Senate
John Burton, California State Assembly member Carole Migden, and Assembly
Majority Leader Kevin Shelley, were there to publicly endorse the
A number of statements about the Marriott labor dispute and
boycott were incorrect in the ALA fact sheet. They are as follows:
1. ALA factsheet: There is NO ongoing strike against the
Marriott: a two day workstoppage last summer was not well supported
by the restaurant employees.
Local 2: The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union
represents 925 room cleaners, dishwashers, bellmen, phone
operators, and room service workers in addition to restaurant
workers at the Marriott. During the two-day strike last July,
over 75 percent of Marriott workers participated. Each and every
day there is an ongoing boycott against Marriott endorsed by the
Mayor Willie Brown and members of the SF Board of Supervisors.
2. ALA: Many of these (Unfair Labor Practices) have been
dismissed by the National Labor Relations Board. There has been
no finding by the NLRB that Marriott has acted unlawfully.
Local 2: The NLRB\'s prosecution of the Marriott was ready to
go to trial January 29, 2001. Over 80 workers are prepared to testify
on almost 100 separate violations of the law. Marriott\'s lawyers
responded by filing motions to delay the trial. The NLRB, a branch
of the Federal Government, is seeking the most extreme penalty
allowed by law.
The intermittent picketing usually occurs for an hour to an hour
and one-half on Thursdays and/or Fridays. Last Sunday and Monday,
February 4th and 5th, over 1300 people composed of Marriott
workers, hotel workers from throughout the city, and community
supporters demonstrated in front the Marriott continuously from 6
a.m. to 10 p.m. both days.
3. ALA: Marriott representatives have informed ALA that they hope
to have a signed union contract before June.
Local 2: Marriott\'s behavior shows no indication that they
are interested in signing a contract.
4. ALA: Due to the size of ALA conferences, they can only be held
in a limited number of cities, and the hotels and convention
centers in these cities are subject to union action at any time.
Local 2: In San Francisco, virtually all large hotels are
under a five-year union contract until August 2004 and the union
is prohibited from picketing or striking until the contract expires.
The only hotel you will find prone to strikes or picketing during
the ALA convention is at the Moscone Center Marriott.
Join us in pressuring ALA to fix their error and make it possible
for all of us to attend ALA conference sessions without crossing
a picket line.
Adelaide Chen, Marriott Boycott Coordinator
HERE, Local 2
415.864.8770 ext. 751
SEIU, Local 790
(c/o Andrea Grimes, SFPL
P.S. Spread the word and this letter: Boycott Marriott!