Friday, October 24, 2014

Dream Inn Workers Keep Pressure on Management During Contract Negotiations

On October 17, workers, union reps, labor organizers, and community supporters returned to the Santa Cruz Dream Inn for a second rally in a month's time as workers at the hotel continue to demand a fair contract during negotiations. Management wants workers to take a three-year wage freeze, with raises limited to 1% and 2% in the fourth and fifth year. Dream Inn Workers have been negotiating with the Dream Inn for several months now and this offer continues to be unacceptable to them.

"We're here for the long haul. This employer doesn't want to give wage increases," said Cesar Lara, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council at the rally.

The Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC) is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). 65 labor unions are affiliated with the MBCLC, including Unite Here! Local 483, the union that represents Santa Cruz Dream Inn workers, as well as many other workers at hotel and restaurants in the Monterey Bay area.

Members of several different labor unions were present at the October 17 rally to support the Dream Inn workers, including SEIU 521, the Teamsters, the Teachers Union, and the California Nurses Association.

"We're here to fight with you, we're here to support you," Lara said.

"We are fighting for better wages," said Martha Hernandez, who is a housekeeper at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn and the leader of the union at the establishment.

"The company is making a lot of money. We are working hard every day for several years, and they are not taking care of us. They are taking care of their own money," she said.

"This is a just fight," said Hector Azpilcueta, an organizer with Unite Here! Local 483.

"The workers in this hotel sacrifice their lives, sacrifice their families, working on holidays, and Saturdays and Sundays, when many of us are enjoying with our families," he said.

"They have already sacrificed for a while helping the company to come out of hard times, but they want to keep us in a crisis forever."

Union representatives have stated they will continue to picket the hotel until their demands are met.

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