Labor Dispute & the Oral History Association Conference

ORAL HISTORY 50th ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE: A letter from the Oral History Association's Labor Working Group

Dear Colleagues,

As you undoubtedly know, the 50th anniversary conference of OHA that will be convening October 12th has been faced with a serious problem. When the Long Beach Renaissance Hotel was initially booked two years ago, there was no labor issue. However, subsequently, UNITE-HERE has been trying unsuccessfully to organize the hotel and has placed it on an unfair list. Because it would have been prohibitively expensive to cancel, OHA had little choice but to go ahead with the Renaissance.

Instead, the big reception/50th anniversary party has been booked off-site, and many other events that would usually be scheduled at the conference hotel were not planned this year as a way to minimize the use of the hotel.

At the same time, our Labor Working Group, skillfully chaired by Paul Ortiz, has been in conversation with the union, and has been busy on all of our behalfs to come up with a way to simultaneous honor our commitment to workers struggles and to OHA. So, instead of staying away from the conference, we are encouraging people to join us in what can be an important organizing opportunity in support of the workers at the hotel: first, by participating in an early Friday morning picket line and rally; and to wear red UNITE-HERE t-shirts and/or buttons inside the hotel at all times, with a “OHA stands with UNITE-HERE” bumper sticker attached.

To help us with our organizing efforts, we are calling on all of you - OHA members or not - to join our social media campaign to place pressure on the hotel to negotiate a card check neutrality agreement with UNITE-HERE.


oralhistory practitioners and #OHA2016 support the >20,000 workers of @UNITEHERE11 in their #boycott of Renaissance Long Beach Hotel!

Join #OHA2016 and #oralhistory practitioners in Tweetstorm in support of >20,000 @UNITEHERE11 workers #boycott Renaissance Long Beach Hotel!

Help! #retweet to support >20,000 workers of @UNITEHERE11 on picket line, Friday, Oct 14, 7:00-8:00 am PDT at Renaissance Long Beach Hotel!

.@SWoralhistory @OHAnetwork #oralhistory #OHA2016 @UNITEHERE11 to picket Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, Friday, Oct 14, 7:00-8:00 am PDT

FB MESSAGING - with instructions for tagging the hotel


CALL/WRITE Manager Pam Ryan. Tell her to let the workers vote!  (562) 437-5900;

Although it is forced to pay its workers a $13 minimum wage as a result of the successful Long Beach referendum, the working conditions there are deplorable. Sexual harassment is rampant and unaddressed, workloads for the largely Latina housekeeping staff are excessive, work has been outsourced, and there is evidence of wage theft.

The workers need a union to protect them, but management is refusing an NLRB approved card check neutrality agreement.

CALL/WRITE THE HOTEL to urge them to recognize the workers rights; and if you belong to a group that schedules conferences, let the hotel know that you are asking your group not to use RENAISSANCE or any other Marriott hotel on the boycott list.  SPREAD THE WORD

For tagging the hotel on facebook:

  1. Type “@” sign at the place in the text where you'd like to tag (this can be within the paragraph)
  2. Begin to type the name of the hotel, it will look like this: @Renaissance Long Beach Hotel
  3. A drop down menu will appear
  4. When you see the name of the hotel, click on it
  5. The name of the hotel will appear highlighted (facebook only) and when you post it will link to the hotel page