KENTUCKY-BASED COLUMBIA SUSSEX CONTINUES TO HURT ALASKA WORKING FAMILIES
Monday June 3rd Alaskan workers of the Anchorage Hilton met with management and representatives of the Kentucky-based Corporation, Columbia Sussex, who owns the hotel. For five years workers have been fighting for affordable healthcare, safe workloads, job security protections, and reasonable wage increases in the face of out-of-state corporate employers. At Monday’s meeting the corporation again insulted Anchorage workers and refused to provide workers a wage increase for the fifth year in a row.
The Anchorage Hilton at one time was locally owned and was a cornerstone in the Community. It was a place where workers were treated with dignity and respect. Once upon a time, for 30 years, the Hilton was good to its workers and helped make and keep Anchorage a vibrant community. That all changed when Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex bought the hotel and has been driving down Alaskan families and their ability to survive in our great State.
Columbia Sussex, owned by William J. Young III, continues to hurt Alaska middle class families by imposing unsafe workloads on workers at the Anchorage Hilton, especially in housekeeping; a profession with higher injury rates than coal miners. Cuts to healthcare coverage of workers and increasing employee contributions further burdens Alaska workers. This five year wage increase refusal is yet another blow to Alaskan workers and their ability to provide for their families.
Anchorage Hilton workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 878, have been attempting to negotiate with their employer, Columbia Sussex, since July of 2008. These Alaskan workers have simply been asking to maintain the same working conditions and benefits listed in their long expired contract which guaranteed safe workloads, job security protections, regular wage increases, and affordable family medical insurance. In May of 2009, Hilton workers overwhelmingly voted to place a boycott on their hotel. Workers are asking potential guests, and fellow Alaskans, to support their fight by not eating, sleeping, or attending meetings/events the outside-owned Anchorage Hilton until the boycott is over.