ARE WE BECOMING A UNION OF STRIKEBREAKERS?
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
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
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
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.
IUOE LOCAL 39 ENGINEERS IN SOLIDARITY WITH LOCAL 2