For Immediate Release
July 6, 2012
National Episcopal Leaders Call on Indianapolis Mayor Ballard to Protect Hotel Workers' "Freedom to Work"
Leaders of the Episcopal Church who have come to Indianapolis for their General Convention delivered a letter Friday morning calling on Mayor Ballard to support the “Freedom to Work” ordinance. The “Freedom to Work” ordinance, which will be voted on by the City Council this month would remove the barriers that low‐wage hotel workers face in obtaining employment directly for hotels. Co‐sponsored by City Council President Maggie Lewis, Vice President Brian Mahern, Councilor Robinson, and Councilor Adamson, the ordinance would give approximately 1,000 workers who are currently trapped in poverty‐wage hotel jobs a way to improve their lot.
The delivery of letter was followed by a press conference in front of the City County Building to explain why supporting hotel workers in their struggle for justice is important to the Episcopal Church.
Says Dianne Aid, President of the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice: “I identify as part of the working class and I advocate for my community. The Episcopal Church is in the process of setting priorities and budget for next three years. One of our missions is to transform unjust structures of society. That is what we are doing here today. The church has a long history of solidarity with labor movement."
The actions of Episcopal Church come at a time when much controversy is surrounding the hotel industry in Indianapolis. The historic lawsuit that a number of Indianapolis hotel workers filed this past January for wage and hour violations inspired leaders of the Episcopal Church to demonstrate their support for hotel workers in a number of ways this week as their General Convention got under way.
On Thursday, dozens of attendees of this week’s General Episcopal Convention marched on the Hyatt Regency Hotel, one of the hotels named in the lawsuit, to show their solidarity with Hyatt workers. Responding to the calls to honor the boycott of the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, leaders of the Episcopal Church made the decision to move their General Convention out of the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. The 10,000 Episcopalians descending on Indianapolis this week will not be patronizing the hotel.
Church leaders will also be introducing several important resolutions at the Convention, including one addressing wage theft and one addressing the blacklisting of temporary workers. The Episcopalians' anti‐blacklisting resolution states, “Given the widespread nature of the use of temporary and subcontracted workers who often make poverty wages with no access to benefits, Episcopalians recognize that stopping blacklisting will help alleviate poverty, a major concern for The Episcopal Church.”