[URBANTH-L]Philippe Bourgois on boycotting the Hilton

Robert T. O'Brien robrien at temple.edu
Sat Oct 30 21:22:04 EDT 2004


---- Original message ----
>Date: Sat, 30 Oct 2004 15:21:32 -0700
>From: Philippe Bourgois <bourgoi at itsa.ucsf.edu>  
>Subject: posting statements on boycotting the Hilton  
>To: robrien at temple.edu
>   Dear Anthropologists,
>           Please do not go to Atlanta for the sake of
>   the workers locked out of the Hilton Hotel in San
>   Francisco and for the sake of hotel service workers
>   throughout the country.  The Hilton Hotel in San
>   Francisco has locked its workers out for asking for
>   basic necessities that are common sense in the rest
>   of the industrialized world and should be considered
>   a basic human right:  decent minimum wages and
>   health benefits... (for full-time employees!)  The
>   conference in Atlanta is at a non-union Hilton
>   Hotel.  All sections of the American Anthropological
>   Association should cancel their sessions in
>   Atlanta.  The Hilton Hotel and the Hilton Company
>   will benefit financially and symbolically by having
>   anthropologists attend their hotel in Atlanta.
>             By patronizing any Hilton Hotel while its
>   workers are locked out in San Francisco (or anywhere
>   else in the world or the country) we would be
>   behaving exactly like United Fruit Company
>   executives in Central America and multinational
>   executives throughout the world who break the backs
>   of unions by simply switching production to
>   non-union plantations/sweatshops in neighboring
>   countries when one of its plantations/sweatshops
>   tries to unionize.  That is unconscionably abusive
>   and is much more important than any of our
>   anthropology-meeting-related concerns.  We should
>   have the decency and humility to realize that
>   whatever we have to say at our academic meetings can
>   wait for another year or six months for the sake of
>   hotel workers.  Service workers have a chance of
>   winning this fight for their rights because hotels,
>   unlike plantations and sweatshops, have to stay
>   put.  The service workers union will lose if
>   organizations like the AAA move around the country
>   at the  will of the Company to whichever city has
>   the cheapest wage and most abusive working
>   conditions.  This is not a complicated issue.  It
>   should be easy for anthropologists with a global
>   perspective to understand the stakes.
>   Philippe Bourgois
>   Professor
>   Department of Anthropology, History and Social
>   Medicine
>   University of California, San Francisco
>   Box 0850
>   3333 California Street          [@ Walnut  street]
>   Suite 485
>   San Francisco CA 94143-0850
>   (For express delivery use zip code 94118)
>   Tel 415 502-8400
>   Fax 415 374-7160
Robert T. O'Brien 
AAAUnite Ad Hoc Committee
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Anthropology 
Temple University 
robrien at temple.edu 

"We're changing the world,...freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom." GWB on 
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"...a really diverse crowd here tonight. The haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you elite. I call you my base." GWB at the Al Smith fundraiser, October 19, 2000

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