Date: Sun, 09 Oct 2005 01:35:30 +0000
From: Melissa Slovak <>

Brothers and Sisters,

I FOUND YOUR website, and thought you would be a great sounding board for a
very dangerous precedent being set in the Union hotels in New York.
I have been a waitress for 16 years in 2 hotels in New York City. My first
job was eliminated because I was lowest in seniority, and the staff was
being cut due to the sale of the hotel. That was in January of 1996.
Now, once again, the hotel I work in has been purchased by the multi-billion
dollar Blackstone Corporation. They are in the process in building a luxury
tier hotel chain across the country and my hotel, the RIHGA ROYAL Hotel is
their latest acquisition. Since taking over the property, Blackstone has
decided to concession the Food and Beverage department to a private owner.
This private owner, a world reknown Chef, wanted all the "old" union
employees out.
Blackstone was more than willing to comply, offering "enhanced" severance
packages to get the employees to leave.
The employees of Food and Beverage were never privy to, or included in the
negotiations, nor were we informed by management or the union, of our fate.
After the negotiations were complete, we all received our "packages" and
were asked to review and sign the documents as soon as possible.
This document was distributed in September and we had many questions
regarding the language and terms we would be signing. The union was, and
still is extremely negligent in speaking with us.
So bad in fact that we had to find a private lawyer to help us with the
specifics of the language.
Currently, there was a meeting at the hotel, we have been asigned a new
business agent who has very little experience.
When asked if the union was going to help us with job placement, he simply
stated that they would do what they could, but there are 3000 members out of
work. In other words "too bad so sad" for you.
I find this whole situation to insulting. I as many of my coworkers have
been union members 10+years. We have faithfully supported our union in
their campaign to save the Plaza hotel and ratified a 2000 dollar increase
in union dues to support the impending strike in 2006. We have marched and
demonstrated for them, and stood by them when they needed our time and
Now that we need them, they are turning an elusive cold shoulder, not
returning our phone calls, not able to meet with us, not standing up for
their veteran membership.
I ask your help and support by contacting our union and let them know that
the Labor community is aware of what they are allowing to happen to their
membership and it is NOT RIGHT.
Please help us in this grassroots campaign and circulate this letter, not
only would you be supporting a small group of union workers, but it will
also help prevent a very dangerous precedent of privatization of union jobs.

Peter Ward, President Local 6