Bishop Brown Meets with Union Leaders

May 30, 2013

By Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr., Communications Director

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., recently met with union leaders concerning the national boycott of Hyatt hotels. The meeting was in response to concerns surrounding the annual conference session and current contracts with the Sacramento Hyatt where the 2013 session will be held in June, and future contracts with the Hyatt in Burlingame. The meeting included a history of the Hyatt Corporations boycott by Bill Camp, Executive Director of the Sacramento Labor Council, as well as an update of the current status of the Sacramento Hyatt.
"The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church places a value on working with labor for just working conditions, and because of that we have attempted to work with hotels that support fair labor practices," said Bishop Brown. "It's come to our attention that the Sacramento Hyatt is a non-union hotel, and this has changed our relationship with them," he added. "We are working with labor leaders to learn more about how we can support hotels with just practices."
Union leaders were pleased with California-Nevada Conference official's efforts in investing time in a process to secure hotels with fair labor practices and standards. They did not seek any further action from the Annual Conference as it relates to the Sacramento Hyatt. They agreed that Bishop Brown would deliver a letter to the general manager of the Sacramento Hyatt centered around current concerns as it relates to labor. 
Diane Knudsen, Conference Treasurer, says the cost to the annual conference is $75,000 to walk away from the current contract with the Sacramento Hyatt. "We must fill a block of 200 rooms per night this year in Sacramento not to incur any costs to the annual conference," she said. 
The Hyatt in Burlingame is a union hotel and a there is an escape (force majeure clause) in the annual conference's new contract if the hotel becomes involved in a labor dispute. 
Along with Bishop Brown, other participants from the annual conference included the Rev. Linda Caldwell, Conference Superintendent for Mission Collaboration, the Rev. Alan Jones, Chair of the Conference Advocacy and Justice Committee; the Rev. Don Lee, Pastor First United Methodist Church, Sacramento; and the Rev. Israel Alvaran, a faith leader who has worked with unions in the Bay Area.