Saving Pennies: More Job Loss

Riding my bicycle down M Street in DC on my way to the Washington Studies Conference meeting. I hear chants of a picket line in front of the Madison Hotel. The boldly colored signs complain about unfair deals for the workers.

The picketing has been going on since a new company took over the hotel and told the employees that their old contract was no good anymore. Damn! All the workers were told that they could apply to try and get their old jobs back. The jobs that they had up until that evening.

All the hotel workers were required  to re-apply for their jobs by the new owners, the union says. Workers like Jorge Fernandez, who has worked at Palette, the Madison’s restaurant, for seven years. “We showed up at work last week and the restaurant was closed,” he told Union City, the Metropolitan Washington [D.C.] Council’s online newsletter.

They said we could apply for other positions at the hotel but jobs are scarce right now. I have a family, kids in school to support; we had no warning that we’d lose our jobs.

Twenty-five workers have been laid off since Jamestown, an asset investment and management company headquartered in Atlanta, took over the hotel on January 19. As a reward for getting their jobs back, the employees got to do more work. Some will also find out that they will be making less money than they did one month before.

The union is asking all of us to boycott the hotel. The losses for the hotel have already reached over a million dollars. the NFL Players Association and National Education Association have taken their business elsewhere. However, the company geared up and is using its other revenue sources to ride out the fight.

If the Madison owners win, then other hotels with the same union can then do the same thing to their workers. Then these companies can make more money for their selves and stock holders, cut jobs, and then cut the amount of money people have to spend in the larger US economy. How is this a good thing?


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