Great news! Amma, the hugging saint of India, has decided to pull her event from the Hilton LAX in 2009! Congratulations to Amma and her supporters for rethinking her venue. Thank you also to all of you who urged her to honor the worker’s boycott at that hotel!
Community members rallied outside of the Hilton LAX on Monday to ask Amma to not hold her event at the boycotted Hilton LAX. Members of the Coalition For A New Century held a press conference outside of the hotel where they told the press that they wanted Amma to sign a pledge in support of the workers at that hotel.
Reporters from La Opinion, ABC, Univision, and Azteca America attended the press conference and interviewed community members and workers who were at the event. The community is holding a 30-hour action in solidarity of hotel workers at the Hilton LAX. They will be outside of the hotel until tomorrow at 4 p.m.
Amma’s 2008 North American Tour will be making a stop at the boycotted Hilton LAX where there is no peace, love or justice! Amma, whom is often referred to as “The Hugging Saint,” has hugged millions of people worldwide. When the location of her visit to Los Angeles was publicly released, we were surprised to learn that she would be holding her events at the Hilton LAX even though there has been communication with both Amma and her followers regarding the seriousness of the situation at the hotel.
For over two years, the Hilton LAX has been involved in a serious labor dispute. The hotel has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose a living wage law for 3,500 hotel workers near LAX. And the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint alleging that the Hilton LAX has committed over 20 Unfair Labor Practices, including the suspension of 77 workers for union activity, interrogations, discrimination and threats of physical violence.
The labor dispute has escalated into a worker-called boycott of the Hilton LAX. Workers are asking the public not to eat, meet or sleep at their hotel. In response to Amma’s decision not to honor the worker-called boycott, clergy and community leaders will be joining workers for a 30-hour vigil asking Amma to meet with them and promise not to return to the Hilton LAX until the labor dispute is over.
Amma has said, “Compassion to the poor and the needy is our duty to God.” We call upon Amma to practice what she preaches by refusing to patronize a business that is treating its workers without compassion and contributing to poverty through low wages and lack of affordable health insurance,” said Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen of the Coalition for a New Century.
If you or anyone else you know is planning to see Amma, workers of the Hilton LAX and local community leaders are asking that you go to one of the other cities on her tour. Please support Hilton LAX workers by honoring their boycott and spreading this message to all those who may be interested.