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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 21, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 34
Candidates honor Hyatt Hotel boycott
Section One
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Candidates honor Hyatt Hotel boycott

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Rotary Club candidates' forum scheduled for September 9 at the Hyatt at Olive 8 Hotel will switch to a new date and venue after two of the Seattle City Council candidates refused to participate.

Incumbent councilmember Tim Burgess and his challenger for the at-large Position 8, Jon Grant, both informed the Rotary Club that they would honor a boycott of the hotel called by workers who want to organize a union there.

In response, the Rotary agreed to move the event to the Sheraton Hotel on October 7. The Sheraton is also a nonunion establishment, but it is not under boycott.

Hyatt employees have been fighting for the right to organize for more than two years. UNITE HERE Local 8, the union Hyatt employees want to represent them, called for the boycott after local Hyatt owner Richard Hedreen refused to abide by terms of a national agreement between the union and Hyatt hotels to remain neutral in union organizing drives.

Workers say local Hyatt managers have used intimidation and threats of retaliation to resist unionization at the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt at Olive 8, and the only option for them to fight back is to ask consumers to boycott the hotels.

Burgess has been endorsed by UNITE HERE Local 8, largely on the strength of his support for Seattle's paid sick day ordinance, the $15 minimum wage and legislation protecting employees from wage theft. Burgess also won the endorsement of the Martin Luther King County Labor Council and many of its affiliated unions.

Grant, former executive director of the Washington State Tenants Union, has tried to position himself to the left of Burgess. He has been endorsed by the huge grocery and food processing union UFCW 21, SEIU 925 and UAW 4121.

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