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1/15/2005

Hotel Workers: No Contract, No Inauguration

While the Hotel Association of Washington D.C. agreed to return to the bargaining table at noon today, workers and supporters continue to prepare for a possible strike. “As the January 15 deadline looms, this round of negotiations renews hope that workers will be able to secure a contract before the inaugural rush begins,” reports Amanda Cooper of UNITE HERE Local 25. “Local 25 continues to negotiate in hopes of avoiding any disruption in hotel services. However, after a week of practice pickets and the dissolution of negotiations Wednesday, the union is well prepared for a strike.” Negotiations broke off earlier this week when management walked out of bargaining and workers and supporters have been conducting daily practice pickets at downtown hotels.

"NO CONTRACT, NO INAUGURATION!" There was no business as usual at several downtown hotels yesterday, as lively picket lines sprouted in the unseasonably warm weather. At the Washington Hilton, over 100 hotel workers decked out in red shirts and white picket signs circled the Florida Avenue entrance, keeping up steady chants of "No Contract, No Inauguration!" and "You say Co-pay, we say No Way!" Regular honks of support from passing trucks and taxicabs added to the din. Workers in the office building across the way showed their support with dozens of hand-made signs in the windows. While some simply said "We Support Hotel Workers," others echoed the picket line chants, warning visitors for next week’s $40-million-dollar inauguration that they may have to change their own sheets. Meanwhile, at the Capital Hill Holiday Inn, pickers carrying signs in multiple languages chanted “Overworked and underpaid, we refuse to be your maid!”

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