Saturday, October 23, 2004

Protest actions on the AAA decision ot move the AAA conference to Atlanta

This weekend provides a window of opportunity for those who believe that the AAA conference should be held in San Jose as a sign of support to the struggle of labor to protect their collective rights. Although the AAA Board and its officers have informed us that it has agreed to the Hilton proposal to move the conference to a non-unionized hotel in Atlanta in December 2004; most probably no contract has been signed yet (If ever one was signed, contracts can be broken too). A massive show of displeasure at the AAA Board for hastily deciding to relocate/ postpone the conference needs to be achieved.

Further, and I am risking myself by saying this, the discussion, at this point, needs to be expanded to include constituents of anthropologists and this means labor, health, educational, media, academic etc. sectors. Pressure must be laid to bear now not only on the SF Multi-Employer Group (MEG) but the AAA Board to do the moral thing NOW. As already stated/ emailed to you, please support the protest actions by doing the following:

1. Organize ourselves. Many anthropological sections and e-groups/listserves exist. For those that I am participating in, many have voiced opposition to the relocation/ postponement. However, these messages are not reaching the wider anthropological community and the general public.

· Rob O’brien has set up a blog to consolidate all messages. Please visit the blog at, leave your comments and suggestions and vote on the mini-poll they set up. These will be forwarded to the AAA Board.

· Vanessa deKoninck [mailto:
vdekoninck@UCDAVIS.EDU] has also set up a petition online website. Please visit this site at, vote, and leave your comments.

You need to visit BOTH sites. The blog will also be a future reference for anthropologists who want to review and study the actions of the AAA and anthropologists during this period of moral dilemma.

2. The messages you will leave at both sites should also be sent to the following:

· AAA Executive Board

President:Elizabeth M Brumfiel-
President-elect:Alan Goodman-
Archaeology Seat: Carole Crumley-
Biological Seat: Linda Wolfe-
Cultural Seat:Deborah Heath
Linguistic Seat: William O. Beeman-
Minority Seat:Norma Mendoza-Denton-
Practicing/Professional:Dennis W Wiedman-
Student Seat:Jason González-
Undesignated #1: George Marcus-
Undesignated #2:Judith Temkin Irvine-
Undesignated #3:Linda Bennett-
Undesignated #4:Andrea
Undesignated #5:Geoffrey A Clark
Ex-Officio/Section Assembly Convenor: Dan Segal-

Ryan Adams ( has just emailed saying the offer of financial consideration from the San Jose Visitors Convention Bureau has been increased to $450,000. The AAA must seriously consider their offer!

For ease in pasting, just copy and paste the following:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

· UniteHere labor organization- Statement of Support or provide them a copy of your statement. They are under siege now and need any kind of support.

Chris Chafe,
Amanda Cooper,

3. The labor crisis is becoming systemic. Lockouts and/or strikes / sit-downs have occurred in SF, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Boston among others. LA hotels unions are voting whether to strike. It seems the conflict is classic industry giants vs. labor and vulnerable groups. Hence, the media nationwide should be appraised of what is happening. Please send them a copy of your comments as well. Also write your local newspaper, alternative magazine, and other blogs. The following have written articles about the labor incidents. The others are suggested papers to write to. If you have other email addresses to include please send them to us.

· Boston Globe: Diane E. Lewis can be reached at
· Philly News: Contact staff writer Jennifer Moroz at 856-779-3810 or SF Chronicle.E-mail George Raine at
· LA Times c/o Ronald D. White at . (for other LA Times writers, email them using )
· SF Examiner at
· SF Chronicle: E-mail is best. Send to and put "For Open Forum" in the subject line.
Jenny Strasburg, Chronicle Staff Writer:
· Tucson Weekly: EDITOR:
Jimmy Boegle:
Jim Nintzel:,,,,,,,,

4. Interest groups: If you are a member of a minority, immigrant, or women’s group, inform them of what is happening. Send them a copy of your comments. Below is a brief profile of the UniteHere Local 2 workers.

From the article: Workers at a glance
Local 2 represents 4,000 locked-out hotel employees in San Francisco.
Total membership: 12,000 (9,000 in San Francisco, 3,000 in San Mateo County)
Average age: 41
Average wage: $26,000, for non-tipped workers such as housekeepers, cooks and dishwashers.
Ethnicity: One-third Asian, one-third Latino, one-third other (including African American and white)
Average tenure at current job: 11 years*
Average workweek: 35 hours
* For career hotel workers, excluding temporary and transient workers
Source: Unite Here Local 2, San Francisco

Compare this with the Hilton Hotels Corp. a publicly traded corporation (HLT), which had revenues for the first six months of 2004 rising 9% to $2.06B, with net income rising 78% to$112M. It forecasts continued growth until 2010. Stephen F. Bollenback, Co-Chairman and CEO of Hilton earns $3.1 M a year with stock options of $34Million. Hilton’s President and COO, Mathew J. Hart, earns $1.12 Million a year with millions as well in stock options. They can well afford healthinsurance.

Hilton Contact details:
Corporate Media Inquiries/Community Affairs
Hilton Hotels Corporation - Beverly Hills, California

Kathy Shepard - Vice President - Corporate Communications-
Candace Hollis - Manager - Corporate Communications

The window of opportunity exists for anthropologists to act. By force of circumstance, anthropologists have been placed in this situation. What are our priorities, financial security or social justice? Can a middle ground be reached? As Melina Magsumbol writes, anthropologists need to "walk the walk and talk the talk". We are all accountable for our statements, actions, and silence on this issue. History will judge us severely if we do not act.


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