This is a photo of a picket line in front of the Four Seasons Hotel. The photo doesn’t show the sound coming from these pickets. They are pounding drums, pots and pans, and blowing whistles from 6 am to 10 pm. They occasionally chant some variation on 2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate? or hell no, we won't go! but directed with venom at their employer.
The tradition that is lost is the repertoire of songs and chants developed over fifty years in labor picket lines and public demonstrations. I used to sing and chant interesting words that were created by good writers and intelligent organizers to generate solidarity. They are gone from picket lines and they have been gone from demonstrations for more than a decade. Pickets and demonstrators have no connection to their history.
Listening to this horrid sound must be most painful for the people in the picket lines.
The strike is so foolish as to hardly warrant comment. It is about a reduction in pay in the form of new requirements that workers pay for more of their health insurance. Most people who have their own business can’t understand the complaint about an additional $40 per month for health insurance for union members when we pay $400-$550 per month for our health insurance with no help from anyone. The last big grocery store strike on this issue was a loser for the unions.
The union called a two-week strike at four of the largest hotels. Ten other hotels joined the core four and locked out their union workers and brought in staff from around the country for the biggest month of business in four years (October in S.F.). Now the union wants to negotiate when the two weeks are up.
I’ll bet the hotels will keep the lockout going for the next six months of off-season, when they would rather not have workers. It is profitable to keep the workers out when they are not needed in the off-season. When the union workers come back in May or June they will have none of their demands met and will have lost many months of wages.