Contact: Rosslyn Wuchinich: (267) 273-1803 or (267) 495-9578 President, UNITE HERE Local 274
PHILADELPHIA – A dozen clergy and hotel/food service workers were arrested today while over 100 clergy, parishioners, union members and students descended on Philadelphia’s newest hotel, the Aloft, to demand the return of millions of taxpayer dollars they say were misspent on the hotel.
Today, in over 40 other cities across North America, UNITE HERE members are holding actions, including protests against Trump’s attacks on immigrants and workers.
“With a real estate developer sitting in the Oval Office and a budget crisis looming in Harrisburg, the stakes could not be higher in the fight for corporate accountability” said Rosslyn Wuchinich, president of UNITE HERE Local 274, “The aloft should not be allowed to take our money and break its promises.”
Along with a dozen clergy and workers, President Wuchinich and Reverend Robin Hynicka of Arch St United Methodist Church were arrested inside the hotel lobby. They demanded that the hotel either create the promised jobs, or return $2 million of state funds. In its original application for these funds, the aloft hotel promised to create 170 jobs, 115 of which would come from a “destination restaurant.” The hotel opened last month with no such restaurant.
Outside, a group of protesters on Broad Street dramatized the fight over the public funds by staging a tug of war over a giant $33 million check. The hotel is slated to receive $33 million dollars of public subsidy—$183,000 for each hotel room, making these the most heavily subsidized hotel rooms in Philadelphia.
“It’s bad enough that we all have to suffer under Trump’s terrible policies and broken promises. Philadelphia shouldn’t also have to suffer hotel developers who take our money and break their promises,” said Corean Holloway, a housekeeper at the Warwick Rittenhouse hotel.
UNITE HERE represents 5,000 members in the Philadelphia area and 270,000 members nationwide working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada. Learn more at www.unitehere.org or www.uniteherephilly.org