Monday, January 18, 2010

Pacific APA News: Possible Location Change

I just received an e-mail from the APA seeking feedback on an issue arising from a labor dispute between San Francisco's unionized hotel workers and the collection of hotels that employ union workers.

The hotel workers are calling for a boycott because of disputes with management over something to do with their health care packages (I don't have the specifics because the e-mail linked to a survey with more information, but I finished the survey without copying down the info, and I can't re-open the survey after submitting it). It is important to note that the workers are not striking now, and the information provided by the APA suggests it is very unlikely for the workers to go on strike.

The union is calling for a boycott of many of San Francisco's hotels (including the Westin St. Francis where the APA meeting was supposed to be). The poll was aimed at finding out whether people preferred to keep the meeting at the Westin St. Francis (and make arrangements for people who wish to present their work outside the hotel at nearby venues), move the meeting somewhere else in the greater bay area, or move the meeting to another major city entirely. One constraint is the APA policy to use a union hotel for APA meetings (presumably this is part of why there is no discussion of moving to another hotel within San Francisco).

For what it is worth, my survey responses heavily favored the first two options over the last one (in part because I already purchased plane tickets to San Francisco), and I also wound up leaning towards leaving things at the Westin rather than moving to another part of the bay area.

It seems as though participating in the requested boycott would cause serious upheaval for the APA's plans, and for the plans of many individual members of the APA, especially given that the issue may well be resolved before March (though I don't have any information about how likely that is to happen).

I know that, when I was making hotel arrangements, I had considered laying down the money upfront for a non-refundable reservation at a nearby hotel because it was somewhat cheaper than the discounted rate at the Westin. I'd be pretty concerned right now if I had actually gone ahead with that reservation.

I should also note that if the APA was deciding whether to plan future APA meetings in San Francisco (as opposed to deciding whether to change the plans for the upcoming meeting), I'd be much more sympathetic to the boycott request.

If anyone has a link to something a bit more official on all this, please post it in the comments.

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