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Support of hotel workers during strike will cost local science-fiction organization big bucks

An arbitrator has ruled that Arisia owes the Marriott chain some $125,000 for moving its 2019 convention from two Marriott hotels in support of a strike by workers there, the group's leaders have notified members.

Arisia had signed a contract with Marriott to use the Westin Boston Waterfront and Aloft hotels for its annual convention this past January. In November, the Arisia board moved the location to the Boston Park Plaza rather than risk convention-goers crossing picket lines set up by workers who had gone on strike in October. The day after Arisia announced the move, though, the workers' union announced a settlement - but Arisia stayed with the Park Plaza.

Marriott brought an arbitration claim against Arisia for the cancellation and an arbitrator has ruled against the group and added in fees and interest - and now the group has to figure out how to pay for it all:

Whether this is a loss in excess of what Arisia can manage depends a great deal on what terms of payment can be agreed. Paying $125,000 is impossible now, but might be possible over some number of years, even with interest.

The Eboard is continuing to consult with legal counsel and attempting to negotiate with Marriott in order to clarify exactly what our options are and what the costs of these options would be.

Arbitrator's decision in the Aloft case (2.4M PDF).
Arbitrator's decision in the Westin case (1.8M PDF).

Free tagging: 


Combined with the previous problems they've had I wonder if this is the end.



The settlement was announced the following day, not the same day, as the move.

The arbitrator's decision in the Westin case has also been posted; you can now find it linked at http://corp.arisia.org/blog

Fixed the timing in the post and will add a link to the second decision.

The smart move is to postpone payment until after the coming technological singularity renders money obsolete.


And the arbitrator, of course, spent years working for Marriott before entering her current job: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabriellethorp/

Bonnie MacLeod was.

The same day Arisia announced the moved (sic), though, the workers' union announced a settlement...

It can be argued that when Arisia decided to cancel, that very act caused management to fold and settle the strike later that day. Therefore Arisia, more so than the expensive union lawyers, is responsible for the new deal.

Out of gratitude for this resolution and Arisia's loyalty, the multi-million dollar union slush funds and PACs should pitch in to cover it. Marriot, having proven their point with the court victory, could also write-off the loss instead of running up the score. Just don't send Walsh's two buffoons to "handle" the final deal.


Marriot, having proven their point with the court victory, could also write-off the loss instead of running up the score.

As someone who's worked in the hotel business- I know hotels aren't in the business of writing off a 6-digit figure any more than they'd write off $6

I suppose it "can be argued" that if I voluntarily do something on your behalf, and it costs me money, you should reimburse that. But it's not an argument I find convincing. Or, rather, you haven't made an argument in favor of that claim.

It can also be argued that your suggestion is an attempt to stop unions from accepting help from non-members, because the cost could be arbitrarily high and paid to the organization the union is striking against.


It's a bad decision. The conference booked the hotel with a reasonable expectation that the hotel would not require guests to become involved with a labor dispute. The hotel failed to create the environment which they were obligated to provide. The fact unions are involved is irrelevant.


Ah, but the hotel didn't involve, the picket line (a tool of the union and the workers) did.

The hotel made a choice about negotiating a fair contract. And the union has the right of free speech to advertise that.

The nightmare of any large conference organizer is having to deal with protests by workers of the very hotel the event is scheduled at. It hardly matters if the conference organizers support or opposes the workers, it's going to be a major distraction and problem they do not want to with.

Switching hotels is the logical move if the hotel can't solve these problems before the event.

would have refused to cross the picket line if the strike were still going on and Arisia had tried to still hold the event. The head of logistics in particular would not have crossed the picket line, and without her and her team, it would be difficult to have the event at all.

Conferences have multiple year contracts. This was likely to have been booked years before the labor dispute.

It could also be argued that you're a class traitor with a severe case of brain worms.


As a dues-paying union member (albeit not of this union!) I really really want to know where our multi-million-dollar slush fund is. Like, it is nowhere in evidence at MY union.


The PDF link for the Westin decision doesn't seem to be working.

Link fixed.

They should set up a Go Fund Me and send a link to every union hall in the state.

I would pitch in a few bucks.

And yes, the Marriott workers should be especially generous.

Seems like Marriot has a bigger slush fund https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriott_International

...And they don’t need my help anymore