[URBANTH-L]Latest Update, Relief Fund

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Tue Oct 26 23:59:30 EDT 2004

        From:     members at aaanet.org
        Subject:        AAA Meeting Update
        Date:   October 26, 2004 7:30:17 PM EDT
        To:       members at aaanet.org

(Please forward this statement.)

Dear AAA members:

Earlier today, the Executive Board of the American Anthropological
Association agreed to return the 2004 AAA Annual Meeting to the San
Francisco Hilton on the original dates of November 17 - 21, 2004, on
the condition that the 90-day cooling off period is accepted by both
parties and the picket lines come down by Wednesday, October 27, 2004
at 5 pm PST.

At 5:45 EDT, the Executive Board learned that management rejected Mayor
Newsom's call for a ninety-day cooling off period.  Our motion gives
management until 5 pm PDT, tomorrow, October 27th, to agree to end the
lockout and allow the union workers to return to their workplace.  In
the absence of such an agreement, the American Anthropological
Association will withdraw its business from San Francisco and hold its
meeting in Atlanta on December 15-19, 2004.

The Executive Board voted overwhelmingly to return the meeting to San
Francisco if both sides agreed to the cooling off period.  Like you, we
deeply regret that management did not agree to end the lockout.

The AAA Executive Board also passed a motion today whereby, "To help
defray the additional expenses, which have resulted from the AAA's
response to the labor situation at the SF Hilton, of graduate students
and foreign scholars from low income countries who are on the AAA 2004
program and traveling to the AAA 2004 meeting, the AAA Executive Board:

a. allocates a lump sum of  $50,000 to a 2004 Annual Meeting Travel
Relief Fund;

b. encourages Sections to make contributions to this Fund for this same
purpose, based on a $100 per capita for the number of graduate students
and foreign scholars from low income countries on their panels; and

c. encourages members with established professional employment to make
individual contributions for this same purpose.

In addition, the EB directs the AAA Executive Director and Deputy
Executive Director to identify the simplest means possible to
administer this Fund for this purpose with the advice and consent of
the Executive Board.  Information on the application process will be

Attached is a form with information on how to make individual or
Section contributions to the 2004 Annual Meeting Travel Relief Fund.


Liz Brumfiel, President
American Anthropological Association

From: Robert T. O'Brien robrien at temple.edu
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 8:25 PM
Subject: [aaaunite] Why San Jose

Dear Colleagues:

As you are by now aware, the SF Multi-Employer Group (MEG)
hotels have refused the offer of a "cooling-off" period.
UNITE HERE and Mayor Gavin Newsome favored this effort to get
workers back on the job and the parties to the labor dispute
back to the bargaining table.

As you are also aware, a vast majority of AAA members are emailing one
another with one simple question, "Where is the 2004 American
Anthropological Association Meeting going to be

As you may not be aware, the San Jose Convention and
Visitors' Bureau claims to have been negotiating with AAA
leadership over the past few days regarding holding the
meeting in San Jose (see latest letter from them below. I
will send it -- and the previous correspondence -- to you as
an attachment if you email me offlist). It is my opinion that
this move would make sense for the following reasons:

1) According the David Glenn, the Chronicle of Higher
Education reporter I spoke with yesterday, the AAA contract
with the Atlanta Hilton has an "attrition" clause. This makes
this a very different contract from the one the AAA had with
the SF Hilton. In essence, what this means is that the AAA is
guaranteeing the Atlanta Hilton a certain number of rooms
will be occupied. If this agreed-to occupation is not met,
the AAA will be liable for any unsold reservations.

This is problematic for three reasons. First, it is a major
blow to the locked-out workers of UNITE HERE Local 2, since
we are guaranteeing revenue to the company that is denying
them access to their jobs. Any effect the effort by members
of the AAA to "boycott" the Atlanta Hilton by not staying or
eating there is therefore null and void. Second, it exposes
the AAA to the very costs we were, the members were told this
move would be saving us. Finally, unlike the SF or SJ
Hilton's the Atlanta hotel is corporate owned. The Hilton
Corporation realizes relatively little in profits from its
franchised hotels like those in SF and SJ. In comparison, it
receives all of the profit from the hotels, like the one in
Atlanta, that it owns outright.

2) Speaking of costs, as several people have pointed out, the
move to Atlanta -- rather than some locale nearby SF --
effectively removes economic exposure from the shoulders of
the organization and hoists it onto those least able to
afford it. Those who have purchased non-refundable tickets,
who have paid huge conference registration fees to attaned a
conference they cannot go to because of teaching, family, and
scholarly obligations, and who have visas to negotiate are
OVERWHELMINGLY grad students, adjuncts, part-timers,
and "marginalized" members of the AAA (I put this in quotes
to refer to us -- I'm a grad student with a non-refundable
ticket and an exam to give during the proposed December
dates -- because I am loathe to equate my troubles with those
faced by the locked-out hotel workers).

3) San Jose has waived the fee for using their Convention
Center. The SJCVB and UNITE HERE continue to promise
logistical support, including arranging transportation for
AAA members flying in to SF.

4) UNITE HERE have communicated in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that,
while they appreciate the pressure put on by a move to
Atlanta, they would prefer the move to San Jose, since the
MEG hotel chains and the Hilton in particular will not
realize the bulk of the revenue from hotel stays in SJ. Visit
www.unitehere.org to see that they have approved the union
hotels in San Jose for all travellers concerned about labor

5) As the article in today's LA Times Business section
entitled "U.S. Travel Business on Road to Recovery" makes
clear the SF Hilton is entirely dependent on its massive
profits from business like ours. Likewise, the Hilton
Corporation, whose "earnings jumped 79% in the third quarter"
with the "company expect[ing] more good times ahead," would
have its good times on our Atlanta dime and on the backs of
the locked-out workers.

6) The move to SJ would accomodate the greatest number of
registered members still able to go, facilitating face-to-
face dialogue on the burning issues of ethics and governance
that this issue has made abudantly clear. Job seekers would
be able to go to the conference with some assurance that
anyone seeking applicants is actually going to be there.
Several sections have already moved their panels to other
sites in the Bay Area.

I fear that this issue is tearing our association apart. The
discipline and its association have too great a value to me
to quietly watch that happen. It is my hope that the
membership will quickly pull together and convey to the
Executive Committee that this is the best outcome possible
and that we will cooperate with them in good faith to make it

In solidarity as an anthropologist, a dues-paying member of
the AAA, and a labor activist,

Robert T. O'Brien

Appended message follows:
October 26, 2004

Ms. Elizabeth Brumfiel, President
Mr. Alan Goodman, President Elect
American Anthropological Association

Via E Mail

Dear Ms. Brumfiel and Mr. Goodman:

At your request, some final points in our bid to host the
American Anthropological Association's 103rd Annual Meeting
in our city.  Our community is ready and capable of welcoming
your attendees with little to no inconvenience to them.  We
will work with you and your team to make the transition from
San Francisco to San Jose a smooth one.  This letter
supercedes all previous offers extended and represents our
most current proposal to the American Anthropological
Association to host the 2004 Annual Meeting in San Jose.

I would like to point out a few benefits of bringing this
program to San Jose versus another city:

.      Proximity to San Francisco: Just 35 miles from San
Francisco International Airport, airline tickets will not
need to be changed.  Shuttle service to/from San Jose is
affordable and convenient.  It is likely that your travelers
have already booked flights into Oakland, San Jose or San
Francisco for the November program so no flight changes will
likely be needed.  Main carriers into San Jose International
Airport are Southwest and American, two stable and affordable
.      "Big fish" in our city:  The American Anthropological
Association will take over the downtown area and be the sole
focus of our community to ensure the success of your program.
.      Our hotel rates will be confirmed not to exceed your
highest contracted rates in San Francisco at our nationally
recognized brands (Marriott, Fairmont, Hilton, Crowne Plaza,
Hyatt) all within 2 blocks of our Convention Center.
.      Based up your sleeping room actualization of 6,000
total rooms (1650 rooms on peak nights) as communicated to us
by your meeting planner, the American Anthropological
Association will realize $300,000 from the hotel community
and city.  Historically, the American Association
Anthropological Association has utilized 7,400+ sleeping
rooms when the program was in the Bay Area.
.      The San Jose McEnery Convention Center, CenterPlate
and Team San Jose are offering an additional $150,000 in cash
value to the American Anthropological Association in the form
of waived convention center rental, Food and Beverage
discounts, labor consideration and complimentary housing.

We are confident that this will be a most successful
conference for AAA and await your "green light".  In fact, we
look forward to bringing AAA back to San Jose in years to
come after you have had a successful conference in 2004 in
San Jose!


Daniel Fenton
President and CEO
(408) 792-4107
dfenton at sanjose.org

cc:  The Honorable Mayor Ron Gonzales
Robert T. O'Brien
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Anthropology
Temple University
robrien at temple.edu

----- Original Message -----
From: "hchung" <hchung at ColoradoCollege.edu>
To: <urbanth-l at lists.ysu.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 7:49 PM
Subject: FW: update:SF hotel group refuses

SF hotel operators refuse to end labor lockout
 - LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer
 Tuesday, October 26, 2004

(10-26) 16:04 PDT SAN FRANCISCO (AP) --

 Facing a deadline and an ultimatum from San Francisco's mayor, the
operators of 14 hotels at the center of a protracted labor dispute
refused Tuesday to end their four-week lockout of unionized employees
while contract negotiations proceed.

 "We respectfully decline the mayor's request for a 90-day cooling off
period," Cornell Fowler, a spokesman for the hotel operators, said
after they delivered their message to Mayor Gavin Newsom.

 Newsom on Monday threatened to call for a boycott of the hotels if
they didn't agree to his request for the cooling off period that would
have allowed locked out workers to return to their jobs while talks on
the contract affecting room cleaners, bellmen, cooks and others

 Expressing frustration that the dispute was tarnishing the city's
image and hurting its workers, Newsom said he would join hotel
employees workers on their noisy picket lines and encourage mayors in
other cities to play hardball with the properties' corporate owners.

 The mayor would make good on his angry vow by showing up at the posh
St. Francis Hotel on Tuesday afternoon, where he was enthusiastically
greeted by the picketing workers.

 "This is our No. 1 private industry in our city, and I have great
respect for these hoteliers," Newsom told The Associated Press in a
phone interview. "But I'm not going to allow other people to pull the
strings and damage the city because they are putting their interest
over the interest of the city."

 The hotel workers union, Local 2 of Unite Here, called a strike at
four of the hotels on Sept. 29, and the hotels responded by locking at
workers at the 10 others two days later. The workers ended the strike
last Wednesday, but the 14 hotels declared the lockout would continue
until agreement on a new contract was reached.

 Fowler said the hotel operators were aware of the Newsom's warnings,
but concluded they did not want to run the risk of another strike. They

have continued to operate, although at some places with reduced room
service and restaurant hours, with replacement workers.

 "There is no guarantee after 90 days they wouldn't strike and it would

be too expensive to ramp up again," Fowler said.

 The 14 hotels, which are part of the San Francisco Multi-Employer
Group, will continue to negotiate with its workers during the lockout.

 The workers' five-year contract expired in August. Major sticking
points are whether the next agreement should last five years or two
years, wages and health care costs.

 "We care very deeply about our employees and want them back on their
jobs," said SFMEG vice president Matthew Adams. "The solution is a
contract agreement and an end to the union's insistence on a two-year
deal. Unfortunately, the mayor's proposal for a cooling off period did
not address that issue."

------ End of Forwarded Message

Haeng-ja Chung
Postdoctoral Riley Scholar
Asian Studies and Anthropology
Colorado College

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