December 21, 2007 Volume 108 Number 24

AFL-CIO calls for Hilton boycott

The Oregon AFL-CIO has agreed to support a boycott of the downtown Portland Hilton Hotel & Executive Tower, and at its Dec. 11 quarterly meeting, called on affiliated unions to support the boycott.

UNITE HERE Local 9, which represents workers at the hotel, is battling management in contract negotiations, and is asking supporters not to patronize the hotel until a new union contract is signed. UNITE HERE, while a member of the Change to Win labor federation, is also affiliated with Oregon AFL-CIO under a Solidarity Charter agreement.

As one of only three unionized hotels in Portland, the Hilton has been a favored spot for unions to hold events.

The Oregon AFL-CIO resolution had immediate impact. Gary Gillespie, delegate from Oregon AFSCME, said several dozen AFSCME officials are visiting Portland in March; they would have stayed at the Hilton, Gillespie said, but now will stay elsewhere.

Local 9 boycott coordinator Eryn Slack said the union would prefer supporters patronize another unionized hotel if possible, but if not, that even a nonunion hotel would be preferable to the downtown Portland Hilton for the duration of the boycott.