One of America’s best known campaigners for civil rights has declared that he is ‘outraged’ by the way management at the Sydney Hilton Hotel is treating its loyal workers just so that it can invest millions of dollars in refurbishing their building.
The US civil rights campaigner and Presidential candidate, Rev Jesse Jackson, has interrupted a barn-storming tour of Brazil to stand beside the Sydney Hilton workers who are going on strike tomorrow. Rev Jackson is currently campaigning for a charismatic Brazilian union leader turned politician known as Lula.
But Jesse Jackson has warned the Sydney hotel workers they will not win without a struggle, without a wide community organising campaign.
‘The Hilton Hotel is not just going to give you what you need without effort.’
‘Now you need to organize. You need to build your union and your community coalition. You need to reach out to your neighbors and friends.’
‘The struggle can be won. You can make it happen,’ Rev Jesse Jackson says.
‘I wish I could be with you in person, to support your cause, but this message will help bridge the many miles between us.’
Jesse Jackson regularly walks the picket line with hotel workers in North America.
Just a few weeks ago he marched with hotel workers in Toronto, Canada, where hotel union members were campaigning for a new contract.
‘Your dispute with the Hilton Hotel in Sydney is not just a local issue.’
‘Like many large corporations, Hilton is a world-wide chain with a world-wide perspective. You are already an international workforce.’
‘You must adopt a world-wide perspective, and work toward a more comprehensive labor movement.’
‘I want you to know that I am outraged that Hilton would close the Sydney hotel and throw aside its loyal workers while it invests millions of dollars in refurbishing the building.’
‘Workers cannot be ignored. Workers deserve respect and their needs recognised.’
‘I know that low-wage workers, especially recent immigrants, feel intimidated by the wealthy executives and high-priced lawyers of the corporations.’
‘I also know that there are many people around you who support you and your needs.’
‘They need to come together with you * in unity there is power for change.’
‘You need to reach out to them, and ask them to stand with you.’
‘The churches have a moral purpose. They will support you. Enlist them in your struggle.’