When Unions Hurt

Without making this a political discussion, let us say that in general, I support the cause of unions and the right for workers to unionize.  But my opinion is changing ever so rapidly as I find myself face to face with the very union that is supposed to represent the workers in the industry I love and support – hotels.  It’s interesting – I represent union clientele who, whenever possible, only book union hotels.  I also represent clients who have made clear to me in no uncertain terms, they will never book another union hotel.

Unionizing isn’t the problem per se, although in some cases you might see inflated rates on nominal services do to union collective bargaining.  And the threat of a worker strike isn’t the only client fear, although quite a nuisance it would be.  How about that Unite Here, the hotel workers union, has made it their pattern of calling board members with harassing phone calls and worse, showing up at association offices when getting wind that a hotel with an ongoing labor dispute has been selected, demanding the group cancel their program.  In that instance, security needed to be involved in order to remove the pesky subjects from their offices. 

I live near a hotel that’s currently experiencing a worker strike.  Even if I did sympathize with the plight of these workers, how can I truly support their cause when the workers themselves are being taught the words to these inane chants by union organizers, not hotel workers.  And the juvenile nature to their “songs” does not inspire me to want to help.  Their harassing of guests who have chosen to cross the picket line is also offensive. 

And what’s more – what about the employees who remain in the hotel?  When groups move their business from that property to competing hotels, in the short term this has a further devastating effect on wage earners, particularly those who rely on tips.  Dare I say it has a long term affect too.  I can hear the chants between 7am and 7pm every day from the hotel down the street from me.  And though I’m trying hard, it will take me some time to forget them.  It sure doesn’t make me want to endorse their services very much at all.  Was that the point of the strike?

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