[URBANTH-L] Hilton Offer to AAA Unacceptable -- Mobilize to Support UNITE HERE

bvergara at sfsu.edu bvergara at sfsu.edu
Fri Oct 22 14:11:23 EDT 2004

Message forwarded from Robert O'Brien (robrien at temple.edu):
Dear Colleagues:

I have been in conversation with UNITE HERE in San Francisco
and Washington, DC. I discussed with them the offer that
Hilton has made to the AAA -- which is to move the
conference to a non-union corporate-owned Hilton in Atlanta.
Barring any worst-case scenario which would keep the
conference at the San Francisco Hilton, this is unacceptable.

The reasons are simple:

1) AAA has an incredibly viable option to move the conference
to San Jose. See the memo text below from the San Jose
Convention and Vistors' Bureau (SJCVB). The SJCVB has offered
to negotiate airfare changes to San Jose and has secured
incentives in the form of hotel discounts worth $150,000.

2) The union has made it clear that the best way to support
their efforts to get locked out workers back in and to get
the Multi-Employment Group hotels back to the bargaining
table is with our move to San Jose. UNITE HERE estimates that
the potential loss of business to San Francisco is over $5
million, which would put significant pressure on politicians
who have stayed neutral up to this point.

3) None of the progressive members of the AAA are fooled by
the Hilton's crass attempt to subvert the union's efforts and
help the AAA save face. As one of you said in a recent
email "we should all understand that this does not resolve
the basic problem of the Hilton Corporation locking out its
workers in San Francisco and refusing to negotiate with their
union. It only moves AAA to another Hilton site so all of us,
Hilton and AAA can continue business as usual. It brings no
pressure to bear on Hilton to let its employees return to
work and negotiate with their union. It changes cosmetics,
not realities." In effect, we are taking a very long walk
through the picket lines if we take this option.

4) Atlanta will not be well attended -- particularly by
graduate students and others like me, who cannot afford the
costly changes to airfare. SJCVB's offer to negotaiate
airfare changes makes attendance possible.

5) All of the sections who have called on the AAA to move the
conference have offered financial and logistical assistance.
Breaking the contract with the Hilton -- even if they
successfully litigate -- does not mean breaking the back of
the AAA.

Given the above, I am calling on you all to pull out all the
stops to get your sections to stop a move to Atlanta, pushing
instead for the move to San Jose.

We have to bring public pressure to bear on the AAA to
support the members of the AAA Executive and Program
Committees who have been fighting the good fight. Section
resolutions to the AAA leadership, letters to the editor, Op-
Eds to local papers (and to the SF Chronicle and the
Washington Post), and solidarity actions with your local
unions are all called for at this time.

In hope and solidarity,

Rob O'Brien
PhD Candidate
Temple University

Text of the SJCVB letter follows:

October 21, 2004

To the Leaders of the American Anthropological Association:

In a continued effort to provide you with an alternative
solution for your 2004 Annual Meeting, the San Jose hotel
community has committed to 1,650 rooms per night.  This
commitment represents 100% of your guest room requirement,
all within two blocks of the San Jose McEnery Convention
Center.   This eliminates any transportation requirements for
attendees to and from the Convention site.

The hotels in downtown San Jose are just 3 miles from the San
Jose Mineta International Airport, 36 miles from San
Francisco International Airport and 32 miles from Oakland
International Airport. Super Shuttle, Cal Train and Taxi
Service would be most convenient for your attendees.

All hotel rates proposed thus far include a financial
consideration estimated at $150,000 that will help to offset
any cancellation fees and costs to conduct the convention in
San Jose and is payable to AAA. Additionally, the San Jose
Convention and Visitor's Bureau has strong relationships with
American, United and Southwest Airlines and will work with
you to reduce change fees and fare variations.

Again, we thank you for your consideration and look forward
to welcoming the American Anthropological Association to San
Jose next month.


Daniel Fenton
President and CEO

cc:  The Honorable Mayor Ron Gonzales

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