Bill Johnson, Port Townsend, WA
I would preface this by saying I am not opposed to organized labor, although I have never been a union member. I must also disclose that my son works in the hospitality industry in housekeeping as a manager, not the Hilton Crystal City, although he has worked at the Hilton Santa Fe in the past, which is not owned by Columbia Sussex.
That said, I would comment that I was somewhat surprised to see this posting. I would urge considering that Micah poses one side of this argument. Micah wrote; “I have been attempting to open a dialogue with the Executive Director, Steve Haracznak, and Missy McLean, the Director of Membership & Meetings…” It seems a bit ingenuous to me since he quotes the response. His statement “Instead of taking the lead on this issue…” troubles me.
I would be surprised if Micah is an SVU member. That is not a requirement to be on Flownet, nor do I think it should be. But I would suggest that Micah is not concerned with the issue of cost to SVU, breaking a contract is rarely cheap, nor the fact that finding an alternative site would likely also incur greater cost if it is even possible. Booking conference sites in the Washington area is difficult at best, more so if Micah's boycott is successful. Will Unite HERE! pay these costs to SVU? If the contract had yet to be signed, it would be entirely different.
I sincerely hope the housekeepers at the Crystal City Hilton achieve their goal of improving their working conditions. But, I believe SVU’s role in this should be considered carefully. I for one will do my part by not rooming at Columbia Sussex hotels until the issues are resolved. That is not to say I would not attend a SVU conference in this case. The conference Micah writes about - 2011 Legislative, Regulatory & Reimbursement Issues Course - is, I think, as important to our working conditions and livelihood as Micah’s issues are to his members.