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Activist Cleve Jones Marches with Hotel Workers in Long Beach Pride Parade

May 17, 2010

UNITE HERE Local 11 hosts weekend of events aimed at building worker, LGBT alliance

Joined by legendary activist Cleve Jones, hotel workers and their supporters celebrated Pride in Long Beach this past weekend, sponsoring a labor/LGBT coalition-building lunch and marching in the annual parade.

More than 70 UNITE HERE Local 11 members marched in Sunday's parade, demonstrating workers' support of the LGBT community. Marchers donned "Sleep With The Right People" t-shirts to promote the coalition of LGBT activists and UNITE HERE. The coalition was created to fight for the fair and equal treatment of all individuals.

"Sleep With The Right People is about building an important coalition between the labor movement and the LGBT rights movement," said Jones, who is the founder of the NAMES PROJECT AIDS Memorial Quilt and supporter of Sleep With The Right People. "We're not going to get anywhere if we go it alone, and we're not going to get anywhere if we don't stand up and fight."

Jones hosted a luncheon on the day before the parade that brought together LGBT and labor activists from the greater Long Beach area with the goal of fostering ties between the two communities and finding opportunities to advance the cause of equal rights for all.

"This was a great step to come together to find common cause," said Sara Pollaro of Equal Roots Coalition, an organization fighting for full federal equality for all LGBTQ people. "Now more than ever LGBT and labor are united and are a force to be reckoned with."

Hotel workers also staged a picket line in front of Hyatt Regency Long Beach Sunday morning to draw attention to unsafe working conditions, low wages and unaffordable healthcare at the non-union hotel. Hyatt workers have publically called for the right to organize a union in a fair and neutral manner. The Hyatt has so far refused their request.

"This is a the perfect opportunity to show our support and commitment to winning full rights for LGBT people, while also making certain that Pride participants are aware of the brutal conditions we, the workers of this hotel, face each day," said Ben Leonen, a cook at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

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