My name is Monica and I am from the University of Michigan. I am a UNITE HERE summer organizer in Washington D.C. working alongside HEI workers to build power for their fight for justice at HEI hotels. The fight with HEI has inspired me to push outside my boundaries and fight for justice for all workers. This summer, I have had more experience speaking out during picket lines, panel discussions, and–my personal favorite–house visits.
As a result of HEI’s cost-cutting business strategy, HEI workers struggle daily with damaging workloads and shortages of supplies. On top of that, HEI takes punishing actions against workers who speak up about these unfair working conditions. One instance of this happened to a worker I have had the pleasure of fighting alongside of here this summer.
I first met HEI worker Larry Butler, a Doorman at HEI’s Sheraton Crystal City, at the company’s annual investors meeting in May. Students from six different universities went to the meeting to present a worker’s view of HEI’s business approach. Before entering the meeting, Larry and I bonded over our fear of speaking in public, which made the action that much more liberating. When Larry and the rest of us attempted to talk to the investors, we were told to leave by security guards.
Although Larry was on his day off when he went to the meeting in New Jersey, he was interrogated at work later about his involvement in the meeting. His managers gave him a verbal warning for “interrupting a company meeting.” He continues to fight today for dignity in his workplace and the ability to use his voice at work and on his days off.
Meeting the workers and learning their strengths throughout their battle with HEI has been an amazing and motivating experience, and I am so thankful to be with them in their fight. I look forward to carrying this movement to my University as I return in the fall. University of Michigan, like many other universities, has invested endowment monies in HEI, and we will keep demanding that they stop funding injustice!
We need you to take action with us this week – We will be taking action on the ground, and through email and calls to Gary Mendell, CEO of HEI Hotels and Resorts.
Emails are good, and calls are even better!
Tell HEI CEO Gary Mendell that you won’t stand for mistreatment of HEI workers!
Gary Mendell, CEO, HEI Hotels and Resorts
203-849-2214 (direct line)\
(If they start blocking calls to his line, call 203-849-8844 and ask to speak with him.)
A suggested rap for your call is here:
Hi Mr. Mendell, I am ___________, (If you are returning to school or are an alum of a college/university, tell him “a current student at” or “an alumni of” which university or college. This is important since they get their money to invest in more hotels from university endowments).
I am calling because I am angry about the way HEI treats workers who speak up about unfair working conditions. I know that HEI managers fired housekeepers in Long Beach who raised concerns about their working conditions. I know that a worker was interrogated and verbally disciplined for speaking up at your annual investors meeting. I also know that a jury in Massachusetts ruled that you retaliated against a senior executive who filed a complaint for age discrimination and awarded him millions in damages.
I am a part of a growing movement in support of HEI workers’ fight for fairness – and I won’t stand for continued retaliation against HEI workers who are asking for a fair treatment!