Westin’s Intransigence Keeps Netroots Nation Out Of Providence

http://www.quikbook.com/pics/westin-providence-exterior.jpgThis could be a big deal for Providence — upwards of $2 million in economic impact, and a lot of fun to boot.  Netroots Nation had been looking to host its 2011 conference in Providence, at the Westin and Convention Center.  They deserve a lot of credit for respecting the boycott.  Netroots Nation director Nolan Treadway tells PDD:

Netroots Nation supports union workers because we believe in the rights of workers to organize.  We also recognize that many of the progressive public policies that exist today came about through a strong labor movement.  And we embrace the fact that many progressive policies we hope to be enacted in the future will come about, in part, through a strong labor movement.

We won’t book a hotel in the midst of a labor dispute.  We really need to have a labor agreement between the hotel and its workers in place through summer 2011 in order to book.  We hope that the contract is worked out so we can bring Netroots Nation to a city that shares our progressive values, Providence.

RIFuture has a comprehensive post over here:

Bravo to our fellow bloggers at Netroots Nation for supporting the Westin Boycott and telling Providence and the Westin Hotel that they will not host their 2011 conference here unless the labor dispute between the Hotel Workers Union – UNITE HERE Local 217 – and the Westin’s managing Procaccianti Group is resolved (yes, the same Procaccianti from the Credit Union crisis).

Daily Kos is discussing Providence and the Westin Boycott here.

Why is Local 217’s boycott going on?  Let’s look at the facts.

  • Management imposed a 20 percent wage cut;
  • Management unilaterally quadrupled employee health insurance costs;
  • Management threatened to replace workers with subcontracted labor like the controversial “Hyatt 100” decision in Boston;
  • Management fired three workers in retaliation for joining a picket line (they were later reinstated four months later – after the NLRB became involved); and
  • Management broke off contract talks with the hotel workers.
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