Hotel workers protest poverty jobs at Hilton Seattle

SEATTLE — The Hilton Seattle is entertaining prospective buyers right now, and union workers are in danger of being replaced with poverty-wage jobs. So UNITE HERE Local 8 is calling on all union and community supporters to participate in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day protest against poverty-wage jobs Monday at 3 p.m. outside the Hilton Seattle at 6th and University downtown.

Since Oct. 20, the union has called for a boycott of the Seattle Hilton because management refuses to protect workers’ jobs if the hotel is sold.

Now, the sale of the Hilton Seattle is imminent. R.C. Hedreen Co., which owns the hotel, stands to make an enormous profit on the backs of their workers who have dedicated their lives to the hotel. Most of them are people of color, immigrants, and women who could be left out in the cold.

“We could be fired any day when the hotel is sold, and replaced with minimum-wage workers,” said Chuck Cruise, a second-generation bellman at the Seattle Hilton with more than 20 years of experience. “They have the power to save our jobs as a condition of sale, all we’re asking is that they use that power to take care of their workers. We’ve given them years of loyal service.”

Matron Luther King, Jr. considered the growth of unions as central to the advancement of civil rights in the United States. His “Poor People’s Campaign” focused on economic injustice faced by all working people.

“To end humiliation was a start,” he declared, “but to end poverty is a bigger task.”

King partnered with labor unions to advance living wage jobs and dignity at the workplace, and ultimately lost his life during the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike in 1968.

Join in solidarity with UNITE HERE Local 8 members on Monday to send a message to the Seattle Hilton and the R.C. Hedreen Co. that Seattle won’t stand for the erosion of middle-class jobs, and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s revolutionary spirit!

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