Protesters arrested calling for hotel boycott

Nearly two dozen demonstrators were arrested Monday evening while blocking the entrance to a San Francisco hotel, demanding the right for hotel workers to unionize and calling for a boycott of the hotel.

A total of 22 protesters consisting of members of hotel workers union group Unite Here Local 2 and other members of the community were arrested on suspicion of interfering with a business establishment at 5:45 p.m. at the Le Meridien Hotel, according to San Francisco police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi.

Union officials say that Chesapeake Lodging Trust, the Maryland-based owners of San Francisco’s Le Meridien Hotel and the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf have denied their workers a fair process where they can opt to unionize.

After 11 hours of picketing on Monday, protestors sat in several rows in front of the main entrance of the hotel a little after 5 p.m., chanting and refusing to move when guests tried to enter, according to Unite Here Local 2 spokeswoman Laurel Fish.

“It was a show of solidarity and determination of people willing to take arrests in support of Chesapeake workers,” Unite Here Local 2 spokeswoman Tho Do said. “They are the only two [San Francisco] hotels actively in the middle of a labor dispute. People can avoid being caught in the middle of noise and protests by going to fairhotel.org.” Police transported the arrestees to the SFPD Central Station where they were cited for misdemeanors and released.

Union workers and their supporters at the demonstration have been participating in all-day pickets and protests Monday and Tuesday to demand a boycott of the two hotels and to call on Chesapeake Lodging Trust to honor their demand.

“It’s an important issue and we’re going to continue to call for justice until Chesapeake agrees to a fair process,” Fish said.

Chesapeake Lodging Trust officials were not immediately available for comment.