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      WHEN THE HOTEL STRIKE STARTED two weeks ago Kalmar and Tofanelli spoke with Mike Casey, the head of Local 2, and they promised him that IUOE Local 39 would allow only the minimum number of engineers to work required by the Fire Department to operate the hotel HVAC system and monitor life-safety systems. That would be a maximum of two engineers at the largest hotels. Hotel Chief Engineers, although union members, are part of management and would continue to work. Apprentices, utility engineers, and painters were sent home.

     Kalmarıs strong and positive response to the hotel strike is a vast improvement over what happened during the last major hotel strike in 1980. Then the entire crews in some hotels continued to work until the hotels shut down and laid them off.   Reminding members that Local 39ıs contract with the MEG and non-MEG hotels opens next August Kalmar said that a loss by local 2 would make it very difficult for us to hold on to our health benefits.   We would be all alone, fighting these multinational corporations.

     Today the hotels in the MEG are being run by managers, many flown in from Hawaii, Texas, and the east coast, and by scabs hired locally. The Teamsters who represent the front desk and the parking attendant have sent all their members home. So has every other union in San Francisco whose members work in the hotels.  Members of Local 39   are the only union workers in the hotels.

    If the hotel strike continues much longer our union will come under pressure to break the promise made to Local 2. The hotels are crying for more than two crew members on each shift. Our members working in the hotels are being asked to make repairs and do the work Kalmar promised Local 2 we would not do.

      If we limit the work our members do to operating the hotel HVAC and life-safety systems, the hotels will hire nonunion scab engineers to do room calls and repair equipment. The large hotels already had nonunion engineers on site when the strike started.   It bothers some members to see nonunion people doing our work. We should take pride in the fact that our members are not doing this work.

    The scabs hired to replace Local 2 members are damaging equipment and wrecking the hotels. Hotel management wants our members to pitch in and help stem the carnage. If a scab   breaks the dishwasher they want us to fix it. The nonunion engineers they have hired do not know the hotel equipment, they do not know where the electrical panels are located, and a job one of us could do a few hours could take a scab engineer all day to do.

     Kalmar is getting calls each day from hotel Chief Engineers appealing to him to let them bring back more Local 39 engineers.   Unless he gets pressure from us--members who are proud that Local 39 is honoring the hotel strike--the pressure from the chief engineers   will prevail and we will soon have large crews back at work in the hotels and we will become a union of strikebreakers.

     The honor of our union IUOE Local 39 is at stake.   Call Kalmar, or email him and let him know that you support and are proud of the promise he has made to Local 2 and want our union to stick with this policy.


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