ALBANY, N.Y. November 19, 2007 -- In response to management's continuing campaign to deny Crowne Plaza hotel workers their right to join a union, New York State United Teachers said today it will move its 2009 convention from Rochester to Buffalo.
The 585,000-member union had planned to bring its Representative Assembly to the Rochester Riverside Convention Center from April 1-4, 2009. The policy-making convention, which brings some 2,500 delegates to a host city and books about 4,500 "room nights" in downtown hotels, has a projected economic impact - including meals and other spending - of at least $5 million. That was the estimated impact on Rochester when the city hosted NYSUT's 2006 convention.
However, NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said the anti-union campaign by Crowne Plaza management in Rochester against UNITE HERE's organizing effort impelled NYSUT to relocate its 2009 convention - a decision that had to be made now because of the scope and complexity of the event. While NYSUT had hoped the labor dispute would be resolved by now, the need to firm up plans for the union's three-day convention meant NYSUT had to act. The union has booked the 2009 event into the Buffalo Convention Center on the same dates.
"We had been looking forward to having another wonderful convention in Rochester, which has been a great city for us in the past," Iannuzzi said. "But it's important for us to stand with the Rochester labor community against the unfair campaign waged against workers' efforts to organize at the Crowne Plaza. Our leaders and members in Rochester understand and respect this decision."
Iannuzzi added, "Buffalo, a city with a proud labor history and a growing focus on organizing, is welcoming us with open arms. We look forward to a successful and productive convention in Buffalo, where we can do the union's business and also help that city's economy." He noted that the union hopes to return to Rochester when it can be assured that the Crowne Plaza hotel respects workers' rights.
NYSUT represents 585,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.