Playing tough with Indy hotels

Dateline: Sat 08 May 2010

The Indianapolis Star's Jeff Swiatek had an interesting story Friday about the position of the National Football League Players Union, which is warning its members may boycott three Indy hotels because of their unfair labor practices.


But did anyone else read the comments that followed the article? OMG these Hoosiers -- the anti-union provincial sentiment was redolent.

I knwo there are two sides to every story; old story. But the practices the Westin Indianapolis and Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, located Downtown, and the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites at Keystone at the Crossing, are very one-sided. Housekeeping staff and others are hired thru temp agencies -- thus benefits are denied, sometimes for people who have labored there for eight years or so.

According to Swiatek:

The players association calls on the hotels to allow their hourly employees "a fair process free from employer intimidation" to decide whether to join a union.

"The letter is signed by Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, who is on the players association's executive committee, and DeMaurice Smith, the association's executive director.

"An association spokesman, Carl Francis, said no one from the association would comment on the letters.

"The letters don't say whether the 1,900-member players union would attempt a boycott of the hotels during the 2012 Super Bowl that will be held in Indianapolis, or whether the union would try to persuade teams to stay at other hotels when they come to Indianapolis."

Bully for Saturday. He took a lot of heat from Indy Star readers via comments yesterday, but he is a person of principle.

May the unions, in this instance, prevail. May people who work be given decent wages and benefits -- it's part of the American dream.


hendy [Member] said:

You're bucking the principality of the hotels. Workers are serfs. Shame on you. How is the hospitality industry supposed to survive if they pay a living wage????

Ok, my tongue is in my cheek. That said, Peyton Manning, a union member, makes more in one week than most of those worker make in a year.

2010-05-08 10:04:29

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Jeff Saturday identifies himself as an evangelical Christian.

ECs are too often stereotyped these days as right-wing, self-centered narcissists and this stereotype is often painted with broad brush strokes by many people on the left.

Yes, there are a lot of right-wing ECs, but an increasing number of ECs are social justice, peace and equality-focused "red letter" Christians. "Red letter": That means we try to embrace and put into practice the Biblical teachings of Christ regarding love, peace, social justice, caring for "the least of these" in society, etc.

This is a growing movement among ECs, especially among young ECs.

Kudos to you, Jeff Saturday, for letting your faith shine through.

2010-05-08 12:42:16

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Social Justice is a cornerstone of the teachings of Christ...Whitebeard is right. Too many ECs don't practice that portion of the teachings.

Billy for the NFLPU. Let the chips fall where they may. Wealthy Mr. White and other hotel owners now have to make a choice, don't they? For the record, he's as strong anti-union as they come. Hard-right, EC, and hateful.

Boycotts and job actions are a part of American life. Good on them.

2010-05-09 07:05:55

Michael Ehret [unverified] said:

Hmmm...for the record, there are also right wing evangelical Christians who are also interested in social justice and peace. Never met one? Well, now you have. Hello.

We also embrace the "red letters" but not to the exclusion of the entirety of the Bible.

Hmmm...again. What's a "young" EC, Whitebeard? I'm 50. Do I qualify? Some days I feel so, some days not.

2010-05-09 17:33:51

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

This service sector industry handed to us by our ruling class is certainly not working well, for the rest of us. Philip Faruggio write in "With Hat In Hand: American Serfdom", that unions have reached an all time low, with only 14% of workers belonging to one.

For sure, Jeff Saturday has his heart in the right place. i also hope that the NFL union does not resent those of us who boycott the NFL, also for principle.

2010-05-09 22:20:48

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Good on you, Michael. Now, go forth and evangelize among your brothers and sisters.

2010-05-10 05:45:57

Nicolas Martin [unverified] said:

Why no actual details about what the hotels are presently paying non-union workers?

2010-05-10 08:49:02

nicmart [Member] said:

Not quite incidentally, I looked at independent hiring web sites for data comparing what Walmart pays to "associates" compared to other national retailers. Of course Walmart is one of labor's favorite whipping posts. Turns out that Walmart pays more than any other retailer I checked, including Target, Macy's , Kmart, Kohl's, and several others. "Union" has long been barely more than a synonym for "organized crime." The wages that unions extort -- much as the Colt's have from taxpayers -- come not from companies, but from the pockets of consumers who are stuck with higher prices.

2010-05-10 08:54:11

hendy [Member] said:

You paint with a broad brush there, nicmart. Let's separate a few things.

The Indianapolis Dolts did a deal with the Indy and state government to put a tax on food (and other things) to subsidize construction of Colts Stadium. Naming rights were also sold (Lucas, Sprint, etc) and lots of things went towards making Jim Irsay rich. In turn Irsay owns the Dolts, who pays mind-numbing wages for his player, staff, and expenses.

Let's contrast that with many other unions. Let's take the toothless Guild at the Indpls Newspapers. They have a contract, but can't seem to do much otherwise. People get sacked left and right, embarrassing work rules get imposed, and they can only bluster because they're too scared to walk out or litigate.

Or perhaps you like the local Musicians Union. The wages that they can pay are pittance. I can make more money panhandling with my guitar in Broad Ripple than they pay for a four set gig.

Maybe you like the wages paid to the flight attendants at United AIrlines... or how their pensions were sacked when United, having not funded them, simply blew them off in bankruptcy.

Are some unions crooked? Sure. Is some business crooked? Sure. Are some parts of the government crooked? Yes. Damning them all is a little silly, wouldn't you say? It's better to address the problems both individually and collectively. Simple solutions are usually wrong, to paraphrase Mencken.

2010-05-10 09:50:22

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ah, that Mencken. Convenient truths abound.

You'll be surprised to know that recent Wal Mart plaza developments in two Indiana communities, had their developers apply for, and GET, property tax abatements for the jobs created. Seriously.

Another Wal Mart factoid: they recently settled, for tens of millions, management/promotion discrimination lawsuits, filed in Indiana, and applied to hiring practices nationwide.

I don't shop there any more. Stuff is cheap, but damn...the stores are filthy. And they're not very goor corporate citizens.

My money goes to Target, which gives back tremendously.

2010-05-10 13:35:35

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Interesting posts, Ruthie...but I was wondering, what you thought of the shootings in Lawrence? It appears we now know the price of life: a Playstation. Can't stop thinking about those three kids dead. So stupid. So sad. One was angry, and he had a gun. And so it goes.

2010-05-12 05:17:57

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ruthie honey I could've sworn I saw your face on a milk carton at the Safeway at 56th/Illinois.

Everything OK?

2010-05-21 15:40:56

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