SLA in the News: ProJo

Brown group joins boycott of Westin

PROVIDENCE — The Brown University Community Council is the latest group to honor a boycott against the Westin Hotel in downtown Providence for its “egregiously unfair treatment” of its workers.

While several Brown-affiliated groups stopped using the facility several months ago, the council represents the entire Brown community on several issues, including the university’s overall welfare. Its membership includes administrators, faculty and students.

“These groups and individuals have refused to patronize the hotel until workers themselves call for an end to the boycott, which can only happen when the Westin management begins negotiating in good faith again” said Kate Hadley, a member of Brown’s Student Labor Alliance. “As the voice of the larger Brown community, the [council] has demonstrated Brown’s broader effort to support the Westin workers.”

Local 217 of Unite Here, a union representing the hotel workers, declared the consumer boycott shortly after the hotel management, the Procaccianti Group, imposed deep wage and benefit cuts in March 2010.

The unilateral actions included a 20-percent wage cut, a 300-percent increase in health-insurance costs and subcontracting that led to 50 employees losing their jobs, Brown’s news release states.

The union has been working without a contract since Oct. 31, 2009.

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