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Ad hoc labor working group organizes solidarity actions

An OHA ad hoc labor working group, formed after the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach became the target of a labor organizing dispute, spearheaded a number of solidarity actions during the OHA conference aimed at showing support for hotel workers.

The labor dispute emerged in January 2016, long after the OHA had contracted with the hotel for the 2016 conference. Canceling the contract would have cost the OHA a $100,000 penalty.

The OHA Council approved a policy to prioritize booking future conferences at union hotels and to require that future contracts include a cancellation clause without penalty in the event of labor disputes.

To support UNITE-HERE, the labor union attempting to organize hotel workers, the ad hoc working group sold $10 red, union-made T-shirts that proclaimed “Oral Historians 4 UNITE-HERE,” participated in informational picketing and a rally in front of the hotel and urged conference participants to attend a labor forum at the International Association of Machinists Hall, away from the hotel.

Members of the ad hoc labor working group include:  Sherna Berger Gluck, Karen Harper, John McKerley, Paul Ortiz, Rosalie Riegle, Harvey Schwartz and Claytee White.