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Monday, June 13, 2005

Hotel Boycott

Dear Ms. Goldberg,
From available information we understand that you will be speaking at the AAN 28th Annual Convention.  As a speaker, we would like to inform you of the current boycott of the Westin Horton Plaza, where the convention is to be held. The Starwood chain, which includes the Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis and others, is embroiled in a national labor dispute.  On October 13th, 2004 hotels in San Francisco, including ones operated by Starwood, locked out 4,300 of their employees from their places of work.  This drastic action by the hotel industry came in response to a limited two-week strike at four hotels organized by UNITE HERE! to protest both massive increases of workloads and health insurance co-pay eligibility costs.  These changes would erase coverage for many families surviving on low hourly wages. While the lockout ended on November 20th, workers in San Francisco and Los Angeles remain without contracts and continue to face managerial attempts to slash health care coverage.  Earlier today, hundreds of hotel workers in Los Angeles went on strike.  Over the next few weeks there will be "rolling" strikes at different hotels, including several Starwood properties.  The luxury hotels in question are refusing to provide affordable health care and other reasonable conditions, choosing instead to unload its burden on hotel
workers and the American taxpayer. With the endorsement of religious, business and political leaders from across the country, UNTIE HERE! is calling for a national boycott of specific Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, and Intercontinental properties. I feel obligated to inform you that leafleting, prayer vigils, rallies, union delegations and actions of civil disobedience may occur in the vicinity of the hotel during the time of your stay.  I wish to stress that we have no issue with AAN, only the hotel chains that have unfairly forced them into the center of this labor dispute. On behalf of 13,000 union hotel workers, their families and the nationwide coalition of business, political and religious leaders, I urge you, as a speaker, to contact AAN and express your concern over the situation.  We are asking AAN to support workers by writing a letter to the Westin Horton Plaza and pledging not to return until the boycott has been called off. I hope we can count on your support and look forward to speaking with you.

Elizabeth Maldonado
UNITE HERE! Local 30
Boycott Coordinator