by Kaylee Hultgren | January 01, 2008

NYSUT meeting

Happier times:
in Rochester
in 2006.

As a show of support for workers at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rochester, N.Y., who claim they were denied the right to join a local chapter of the UNITE HERE union, the 585,000-member New York State United Teachers union is pulling its 2009 convention, to be held April 1-4, from the hotel to a property in Buffalo, N.Y. The move could cost the city an estimated $5 million in revenue.

According to an NYSUT spokesperson, “We couldn’t, in good conscience, bring business to the hotel, not when management wasn’t allowing workers to have a say in things like benefits and salary.”

UNITE HERE campaign manager Vanessa Managan charged that the 362-room Crowne Plaza, one of Rochester’s major convention properties, has distributed anti-union literature and called mandatory meetings featuring anti-union videos for more than a year. The union’s next step, Managan said, will be to support a boycott called for by Rochester CLUE, a clergy group, of all Crowne Plaza properties, beginning March 1, “unless a fair process of communication standards is put in place.”

Crowne Plaza general manager Paul Kremp said, “We’re very sorry that [NYSUT] decided to change venues, based on UNITE HERE’s negative campaign of misinformation. We have said on numerous occasions that we abide by employees’ desire to unionize.”