Doug Manchester played a relatively unsung, but crucial role in qualifying Prop 8 for the ballot. His $125,000 donation came in at a critical time when the proponents were running out of cash during the signature gathering process.
It is conceivable that Prop 8 would not have made it on to the ballot, if it were not for Doug Manchester. In response to that donation and the poor treatment of his workers a boycott of his hotels was established a year ago, and has now cost Manchester upwards of $7 million in canceled reservations.
He has hired gay heavyweight PR crisis man Howard Bragman to respond to the boycott. Their genius idea was to offer up $100,000 in hotel credits and a $25,000 contribution to any 501c3 organization that supports civil unions.
It was a cynical attempt to try and buy-off and divide the LGBT and labor communities. And it’s not working. No way. No how.
Today, the Courage Campaign, Equality California, UNITE HERE and Californians Against Hate have teamed up to launch the “Say No to Manchester” website, asking our members to sign a pledge to uphold the boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt and Grand del Mar Resort.
It’s a relatively unique campaign with labor and LGBT organizations coming together to support workers rights and equality. These types of coalitions are crucial for building progressive power here in California. Any repeal of Prop 8 will need support from our brothers and sisters in labor and they need our help on their organizing efforts for workers’ dignity and rights.
Boycotts don’t always work, but this one has been effective, though not perfect. Unfortunately, the California Bar Association has refused to move their annual. Jenny Pizer from Lambda Legal:
“The bar associations recognize that many of their members will not feel comfortable attending conference activities at the Manchester Hyatt given its owner’s extraordinary personal support of the campaign that made gay people and their families unequal under law, and undermined the basic rights of all minority groups in California,” she wrote.
Of course, Bragman tries to wedge labor and LGBTs.
Bragman added that the boycott was less about LGBT rights, and more about the hotel workers trying to unionize. “The union issues and the boycott and the GLBT issues are apples and oranges,” he said. “They are two separate issues. We frankly have a boycott that is being funded and designed by people who have motives other than the GLBT community in an effort to unionize the properties.”
Is it inconceivable to Bragman that LGBTs care about workers rights AND their own rights, not to mention the fact that shocker of all shockers, there are LGBT hotel workers? Like I said earlier, we are unified and will not let Manchester divide us, try though they might.
Flip it for the email we sent out to our members today.
Dear Julia —
It’s time for unity in the face of those who seek to divide us.
Doug Manchester, owner of the second-largest Hyatt hotel in the country — and the man who donated $125,000 in crucial early seed money to the Prop 8 campaign — has launched a cynical public relations campaign to divide the marriage equality and labor movements.
That’s why the Courage Campaign and Equality California are teaming up to reject Manchester’s attempt to divide Californians. Will you join us?
Here’s the story:
Doug Manchester owns the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Diego. When he gave $125,000 in early seed money to the “Yes on 8” campaign — a critical infusion of urgent cash that paid for the signature-gathering to put Prop 8 on the ballot — Californians Against Hate teamed up with Cleve Jones and the hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE to lead a boycott of Manchester’s hotels, subsequently joined by the Courage Campaign, Equality California and several other organizations concerned about equality and workers’ rights.
Launched in the summer of 2008, this highly successful boycott is believed to have cost Manchester’s Grand Hyatt more than $7 million in lost business. Despite the success of this growing boycott, Doug Manchester has refused to apologize, refused to meet with the organizations leading the boycott, and refused to improve conditions for hotel workers.
Instead, Manchester has tried to buy off LGBT organizations by offering $100,000 in “hotel credits” and $25,000 to any 501(c)3 organization that supports “civil unions” — a tax write-off for Manchester that dodges full support for marriage equality and could never be used to fund a repeal of Prop 8, the passage of which Manchester made possible.
No one has accepted.
Today, the Courage Campaign and Equality California are launching the new “Say No To Manchester” web site along with UNITE HERE and Californians Against Hate and asking our members to sign a pledge to join the Manchester boycott. Please click here to add your name today:
By signing this pledge, you will increase pressure on Doug Manchester to make a public apology for his $125,000 donation to Prop 8 and negotiate an honest, fair resolution with boycott organizers.
Thank you for joining the Courage Campaign, Equality California, UNITE HERE, and Californians Against Hate. Standing together in solidarity, this growing movement for equality and fairness will win.
Chair, Courage Campaign