[URBANTH-L]AAA Meetings moved to Atlanta

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Fri Oct 22 21:19:18 EDT 2004

 To: "AAAmeeting Update" <rthomas at aaanet.org>
Reply-To: "AAA" <rthomas at aaanet.org>
From: "AAA" members at aaanet.org
Date: 22 Oct 2004, 05:47:30 PM
Subject: The 2004 Annual Meeting (Please Circulate)

October 22, 2004


To: AAA members
From: Liz Brumfiel, AAA President, and the AAA Executive Board

Subject:   The 2004 Annual Meeting

In a teleconference held on October 21, 2004, the AAA Executive Board voted
move the 2004 Annual Meeting from the San Francisco Hilton on November 17-21
the Atlanta Hilton, December 15-19, 2004, a change in both venue and date.

Many of you are already aware that the San Francisco Hilton Hotel and
other hotels in San Francisco are in a labor contract standoff with Local 2
UNITE/HERE, the union representing cooks, dishwashers, bellmen, servers,
cleaners and switchboard operators.  Union members struck the hotels several
weeks ago and were subsequently locked out. Picket lines are posted at the
entrances to the Hilton, and it appears likely that contract negotiations
between the union and the multi-employer group representing the 14 hotels
not be settled by November 17, the time originally scheduled for the AAA's
Annual Meeting.

On October 18, AAA's Executive Board held a teleconference meeting in order
consider potential responses to the lockout situation.  These included
our function space from the Hilton to other locations in San Francisco and
moving the meeting to other cities, including Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago,
Oakland, Philadelphia and San Jose.  On October 19-20, the Board conducted a
poll in which AAA members who had pre-registered for the meeting were asked
express their preference for what, at the time, seemed to be the three most
likely possibilities for the meeting:  staying at the San Francisco Hilton,
moving the meeting to San Jose, or canceling the meeting all together.  A
summary of the poll results is provided in the table below.

Two factors weighed heavily in the Board's subsequent decision.  The first
factor was the wishes of the AAA membership.  Fifty-six percent of those
responding to the poll favored moving the meeting to San Jose or canceling
meeting entirely as their first choice.  Only 44% favored holding the
in the San Francisco Hilton as a first choice. Moreover, a great many
respondents, including some who voted to keep the convention at the Hilton,
indicated that they would find it impossible to cross picket lines and that
they hoped that the AAA would not meet in a hotel that was locking out
unionized employees.

The second factor was the financial position of the AAA.  While we could not
sure that the San Francisco Hilton would recover the full amount, breaking
contract with the San Francisco Hilton would expose the Association to
potential damages in excess of $1.2 million plus legal fees.  Losses of that
magnitude would have meant a reduction in program and services for AAA
and/or the need for a special assessment or voluntary contributions from AAA

In response to our informing the Hilton that many of our members would
their hotel, the Hilton made us an offer:  they would allow us to move our
meeting to the Atlanta Hilton this year without the threat of a law suit, if
agreed to return to the San Francisco Hilton in 2006 (when we were scheduled
meet in Atlanta).  In effect, the San Francisco Hilton and the Atlanta
would trade their years of AAA meetings.  However, the Atlanta Hilton was
booked for our scheduled dates of November 17-21.  December 15-19 was the
open date that the Board thought reasonable.

The Board realizes that this option is far from ideal.  It entails
expense and inconvenience for all our members.  Many of you have
tickets and will have to pay a $100 change fee.  Some of you have already
for your hotel rooms in San Francisco.  Some of you will already have plans
the new dates.  Still, this option allows the AAA to avoid two very serious
outcomes:  asking our members to cross picket lines and exposing the AAA to
$1.2 million suit by the Hilton.

The sad irony is that the Atlanta Hilton is a non-union hotel.  The
unionization of the Atlanta Hilton will be a battle for another day.  But
the San Jose option would have meant signing a contract with the local
A committee appointed by the Executive Board last spring is developing a
to favor living wage municipalities and unionized hotels in choosing future
meeting venues.  We will also seek a strike cancellation clause in future
contracts with meeting hotels.

We deeply regret the cost and inconvenience of this change.  We were
with a situation not of our making, with no good options.  The AAA staff
very quickly to inform us of the situation as it arose and to explore the
several possibilities available to us.  An additional advantage of this
it will be easier to orchestrate than the move to San Jose, and it gives the
AAA staff slightly more time to engineer the move.  The result should be an
annual meeting that runs smoothly.

For changes and cancellations prior to 10/25/04, 5pm CST, please go online,
call, fax or write to San Francisco Housing Bureau.  For changes and
cancellations after 10/25/04, contact your assigned hotel directly beginning
11/01/04.  Cancellations made after 10/25/04 are subject to a $16.00
fee.  Cancellations made less than 72 hours prior to arrival will result in
forfeiture of entire deposit.

San Francisco Housing Bureau

To call: 1-800-424-5256 or 847-940-2154 (outside U.S. & Canada)  (Monday -
Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm CST)

To Fax: 1-800-424-5256 or 847-940-2386 (outside U.S. & Canada)

Internet:www.aaanet.org (available 24 hours a day & 7 days a week)

To Mail: San Francisco Housing Bureau, P. O. Box 825, 08 Wilmot Road, 4th
Floor, Deerfield, IL 60015

Please delay making your hotel reservations in Atlanta until you get an
message from AAA on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 for information on contact
information for the Atlanta housing bureau.
We appreciate the many thoughtful, heartfelt and constructive comments and
emails that we received in response to the poll.  They shaped the Board's
thinking in a major way.  We also wish to underscore our deep appreciation
the considerable efforts of the AAA professional staff in providing detailed
information on the strike and on our options for responding to it, as well
tackling the significant workload that moving to another venue will entail.

 Results of October 19-20, 2004 Meeting Participant Survey Attached.

If you can't open attachment, please scroll down.

  First Second Third

  742/30% 716/29% 1028/41%

Proceed in SF
  1100/44%340/14% 1046/42%

Move to SJ
  586/24% 1060/43% 840/34%

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