Statements by Fred Karger and Brigette Browning regarding Today’s Proposal from Doug Manchester’s re our Manchester Hotel’s Boycott
Statement by Fred Karger, founder, Californians Against Hate;
On July 18, 2008 we partnered with many LGBT individuals and organizations and Unite Here Local 30, to call for a boycott of Doug Manchester’s two San Diego hotels; the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Grand del Mar Hotel. This was done to let the world know that Doug Manchester gave $125,000 to end gay marriage in California.
Over the past 10 months, the boycott has been very successful. Countless groups and individuals have canceled well over 100,000 room-nights. Over 12 large meetings and conventions have left the hotel. Many others have stopped eating and drinking at his boycotted properties. At the Manchester Grand Hyatt alone, after just 4 months they said that they had lost $2.4 million. Now they are saying that over $7 million has been lost from the boycott. It’s probably much higher.
Recently the Metropolitan News-Enterprise reported that the 2,000 + attorney members of the American Association of Justice are leaving the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego and instead taking their annual 2009 convention to San Francisco.
Doug Manchester approached us last summer, just 10 days after we called the boycott, with an offer to settle. That offer did not address any labor issues on behalf of our boycott partner, Unite Here Local 30, and we rejected his offer then and we reject his offer today. He is clearly trying to buy his way out of this, and it will not work.
Two months ago Mr. Manchester hired well known gay PR agent Howard Bragman from Los Angeles to try and give him PR advice to stop the hemorrhaging of business at his hotels. Howard Bragman appears to have given Mr. Manchester bad advice. An end to such a long and emotional boycott should not be first offered in the public square. Mr. Manchester is a very successful businessman, and I am sure he has been involved in lots of negotiations. He knows that this is not the way business is done.
Messrs. Manchester and Bragman are attempting to buy their way out of the boycott and divide the LGBT community, and that will not work. Their proposal is a real slap in the face to the gay community and to all fair minded people who believe in equality and support full civil rights for all gays and lesbians. Their feeble attempt to give free hotel rooms and services to try and lure people back to the Manchester Grand Hyatt and make them cross the union picket line is a dumb idea that will fail.
If Mr. Manchester is truly serious about ending the boycott, I am sure that we along with our boycott partners would be willing to sit down with him and listen to his proposal.
Californians Against Hate has called for national boycotts of four of the largest contributors to last year’s Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. The Manchester Hotels boycott was the first. Two of the boycotts were settled within weeks of calling them when the companies approached us directly and we met and negotiated a settlement.
Only our Boycott of Manchester Hotels and the Boycott of A-1 Self Storage remain. San Diego based A-1 Self Storage owner Terry Caster and his family gave $793,000 to Prop. 8 to take away marriage from millions of Californians. Caster told the San Diego Union-Tribune one year ago that marriage equality threatens society. “Without solid marriage, you are going to have a sick society,” he said. Caster encouraged his friend Doug Manchester to give his $125,000 to the campaign, the newspaper reported.
Statement by Brigette Browning, President of UNITE HERE Local 30 in response to Doug Manchester’s ‘apology’
Contact: Dan Rottenstreich – Unite Here! Local 30 619-516-3737 x 306
Today we learned that Doug Manchester, owner of the boycotted Manchester Hyatt hotel, attempted to apologize for his $125,000 contribution that qualified Proposition 8 for the ballot last year. As part of his apology, he is contributing money and donating hotel services to undisclosed LGBT groups. I have not heard directly from Mr. Manchester, but if these reports are accurate, this is not an adequate response. Our boycott is not over.
Mr. Manchester’s money helped qualify and pass Proposition 8 last November. An apology is too little, too late from Mr. Manchester who consistently spoke in favor of Proposition 8 throughout the campaign. Further, his statement did not address the lack of job security and onerous housekeeper workload at the Manchester Hyatt that motivated the union to boycott the hotel in the first place.
We are happy to engage in a conversation about what it would take to end the boycott. However, that conversation can only be had if Mr. Manchester agrees to sit down with hotel workers and the gay community and meaningfully addresses both our community’s issues. We are ready.