National Communication Association in line with bigotry and exploitation at the Manchester Hyatt

SUMMARY OF PREVIOUS IDEAS FOR THOSE SYMPATHETIC WITH THE UNITE-HERE/LGBTQ BOYCOTT OF THE MANCHESTER HYATT:

1.  NCA: follow the lead of other associations and move the conference.
2.  Failing that, sympathetic individuals should book alternative lodging. The Holiday Inn Express is nearby and offers lodging at affordable rates. The Westin San Diego still had rooms the last I checked.
3.  Sympathetic faculty should ask their department heads or chairs to move their department parties and other events.
4.  Panel, workshop, preconference, and seminar participants and chairs can arrange in advance to hold the panels elsewhere. (If anyone has any ideas as to alternative spaces nearby, let me know)
5.  Interviewers and interviewees should be in contact with one another in advance to arrange convenient alternative meeting places for job interviews. (Interviewers, I hope you will respect job candidates’ choices in this regard.)
6.  Legislative Assembly sessions should be moved since numbers of delegates are likely to participate in the boycott, with negative impact on the democratic process.
7.  Sympathetic leaders of divisions and caucuses should send an email to members urging their members to honor the boycott.
8.  If you want to make a difference, call  or email NCA Executive Director Roger Smitter: rsmitter@natcom.org, Phone: 202-464-4622.
9.  Help to organize and attend any collective demonstrations or pickets at the Manchester Hyatt. (It might be interesting for people to hold their panels out of doors near the hotel.)
10. Get and wear t-shirts in support of UNITE-HERE and the glbtq community of San Diego. (Volunteers to organize this?)
11. If you are sympathetic, please forward to others (in your department, community, friendship network, caucus, division, and community) who may share this concern and to members of divisions and caucuses as you see fit.
12. Individuals, divisions, panel chairs, and other groups need to take care of most of this groundwork. I would appreciate it if members planning location shifts and protests would be in touch with me (dcloud@mail.utexas.edu) regarding these plans so that we may coordinate them and announce them to others.

We are getting word from members all over that they plan to honor the boycott. A number of departments have moved or cancelled their parties. Several divisions are considering moving their sessions. Individuals are organizing t-shirt campaigns and local protests. Standing for justice often takes sacrifice, but in this case there are adequate alternatives that protect panelists and job candidates while honoring the boycott. I know that many of my colleagues eschew confrontation and are often squeamish about confronting power in deed or word when it is on our own doorsteps, and NCA is our home. But if you agree with the goals of the boycott, please be courageous, take part in a living lesson in social movement organizing, and stand with us.

NEW UNITE-HERE letter to Betsy Bach:

Dear Betsy,
Thanks so much for your e-mail of August 10.  We’ve been in and out of town since then, and have waited in order to respond as fully as possible.

We appreciate the efforts of NCA to address a broad range of LGBT issues at the conference.  We also realize that it must be difficult at this distance to have a sense of how the boycott of Manchester Hyatt is playing out in San Diego.

We are concerned that the letter from Prof. Eadie should be given such weight.  As an individual he is entitled to his opinion, but he is not an LGBT spokesperson, and he appears to be entirely unaware of the labor issues that are so important in the boycott.
On Labor Day, not a day when it is easy to get people to stay home from the beach, we attended a large demonstration outside of the Manchester Hyatt, led by the hotel workers union (HERE/UNITE), attended by women’s rights and immigrant rights groups and  numerous supportive unions among others, with speakers who included highly respected state and local politicians as well as members of the clergy.  We are attaching one of many articles in the San Diego Union Tribune that can indicate the degree of attention this boycott is receiving locally.

We have been made aware that a number of professors and even a member of your executive board, James Darsey, have said that they will not enter the Hyatt, and will only attend events at the Marriot next door.  We are sure that many other members of NCA will want to honor the boycott when they have become aware of it and that the issue will create contention disruptive to the goals of the conference.

We have looked forward to our own participation, as scheduled presenters, in the convention.  We cannot, however, patronize the Manchester Grand Hyatt.  It would be absurd for us to offer a film and workshop on women’s activism in a venue that is being boycotted because women workers are being denied the most basic human treatment.  If you wish us to speak and to run our workshop, it needs to be at another venue.

We strongly advise that the executive board move all activities out of Manchester Hyatt.

We hope this letter is helpful, and we send you best wishes for a successful conference,

Mannie Garza

Cynthia Rich
________________________________
NEW Letter from a longstanding NCA member:

Greetings! I am forwarding my pledge to boycott Manchester Hyatt to urge you to consider alternatives for NCA.

NCA has been consistently siding with profit against social justice and we need to call an end to this (Proposition 187 boycott in San Diego, and its history in setting up strong barriers to members’ political action as the result of NCA’s boycott of the ERA in the 1970s and early 1980s).

Perhaps we can get together in San Diego to join in an action group to pressure NCA to reform its hotel contracts.  We also should move all of our Manchester events to alternative locations.  We can start with our own sessions. We may also try to influence division by division throughout the entire NCA infrastructure.

________________________________
WHY? The unprecedented coalition between labor and glbtq activists around the boycott of the Manchester Hyatt has resulted from the hotel’s hyper-exploitative labor practices that afflict a non-unionized workforce. These workers are behind the boycott: They can’t be hurt by it because they are already hurting. The lgbtq community is boycotting to raise awareness about Manchester’s significant financial support for a ballot proposition banning gay marriage. California has been on the leading edge of progressive reform on this issue and a ban there would seriously set the movement back. Together these groups have demonstrated at the hotel and are sustaining their boycott even after the election is over.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080827-9999-1n27boycott.html
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080822-9999-1m22pension.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/17/us/17gay.html

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