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Event unites LGBT and hotel workers’ struggles

Published Jul 27, 2008 7:42 PM

The highlight of the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender Pride weekend is usually the Saturday parade, which for at least a decade has been the largest yearly civic event. In recent years it has drawn a crowd estimated at 150,000. From a political point of view, though, this year’s weekend kickoff event on Friday afternoon, July 18, was a new high point for the LGBT community.

WW photos: Bob McCubbin

Organized by a coalition called Californians Against Hate, a large crowd of LGBT activists and representatives from many area unions gathered in front of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel to send a two-pronged message to the hotel’s CEO: attacks on the newly won right to marry in California will not be tolerated, and the right of all workers to a fair wage and good working conditions is the concern of all.

Doug Manchester, CEO of the Manchester Financial Group of San Diego, contributed $125,000 to help fund the reactionary California state initiative that seeks to overturn the recent court ruling granting equal marriage rights to all Californians. CAH’s goal is to expose Manchester and other fat-cat bigots to the public nationwide. The coalition is also calling for a boycott of Manchester’s three San Diego hotels.

Hyatt worker Charles Yip, July 18,
San Diego, supports LGBT rights.

In addition to the LGBT activists who spoke at the rally in support of the boycott, a number of union activists spoke, condemning Manchester’s anti-worker policies. Brigette Browning, president of Local 30 of UNITE HERE, which represents the hotel workers, said that the Grand Hyatt workers have no job security and are forced to clean significantly more rooms per day than workers at other hotels. Charles Yip, a server at another of Manchester’s hotels, expressed solidarity with the struggle to keep equal marriage rights.

Labor organizations present at the rally included Local 30, Service Employees Local 221, Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, Teamsters Local 36, Hotel Workers Rising, Equality for All and Pride at Work. Representatives of local schools included San Diego State University, Palomar College and Southwestern College.

For more information on the campaign to protect marriage rights for all in California, visit CaliforniansAgainstHate.com.