This weekend my friends at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center will hold their annual gala dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Century City. Its been at that venue for years–one of the only spaces in town able to hold so many guests and accommodate their always amazing silent auction.
But in October Unite Here, Hotel and Restaurant workers union called for a boycott of the Hyatt because of ongoing labor disputes. The Hyatt management won’t sit down to good faith bargaining with the union. This summer there was a massive clergy protest against the Hyatt in West Hollywood (the Andaz) which stopped traffic on Sunset Blvd and resulted in the arrests of several clergy including rabbis.
The unions have been strong allies of the LGBT community. And the LGBT community has worked closely with Unions. But now this weekend there is a clash. One part of the LGBT community is calling for a protest against the Hyatt Century City while the Center event is taking place and guests are arriving. Even the Speaker of the Assembly, John Perez ( a former Union organizer) has called for the boycott and is standing with the boycott.
In full disclosure I signed on as a clergy person in support of the workers and in protest of Hyatt management last July!
I do feel for Lorri Jean and the Center Leadership because they are caught. The contract with the Hyatt for their event happened long ago before there were labor problems. And to cancel the event would be difficult and disasterous financially for the Center.
But the Union hasn’t helped either to help them move the event or cooperate with the Center (which supports the Union and the workers) to say something about it at their dinner and educate the more than 1000 guests who will be there.
I hope Lorri does so. Just as I hope she and other leaders will understand why I can’t go to the Center Dinner this year. I will make my donation to the Center still and I urge you to do so. But I believe that the workers of the Hyatt deserve better than they are getting. And better than they are being treated by management.
The Unions are our allies and we have to stand with them. They put their footsoldiers in our service against Prop 8 and will do so again, the next round. They help educate especially in the Latino community on issues of lgbt equality. This is important help.
Just as the Center does such important work.
Indeed a whopping dillemma. I say send the Center a donation–but don’t cross the picket line.