Six members arrested for civil disobedience
From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
August 2011 Edition
|A defiant Kathy Metzger, center, links arms with Karen Higgins, left, and Pat Mayo outside the Cambridge Hyatt Regency.|
MNA and NNU nurses joined forces with hundreds of other union and community members for a protest march in front of the Cambridge Hyatt Regency on July 21. The purpose of the protest was to highlight the ongoing struggles of 100 housekeepers who were unjustly fired from three Boston-area Hyatt hotels two years ago.
The protest culminated with an act of civil disobedience when 35 protesters, including six MNA RNs, were arrested after staging a sit-in at the hotel’s front entrance. The members were Pat Mayo, Kathy Metzger, Paula Ryan, Ann Marie McDonagh, Karen Higgins (NNU Co-President) and Julie Pinkham (MNA executive director). As they sat on the pavement, linked arm-in-arm, a phalanx of Cambridge police officers approached the protesters. After repeated requests for the protesters to leave, each was handcuffed and escorted to a waiting sheriff’s bus as the crowd cheered, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
|Karen Higgins, left and Ann Marie McDonagh, in handcuffs.|
At the protest, MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams explained why the MNA/NNU joined the demonstration. “We are here to stand up for these workers, and workers everywhere who are being abused and cast off by an unrestrained corporate culture that says profits are more important than people, that the bottom line for Wall Street is more important than the quality of life on Main Street,” said Kelly-Williams. The “Hyatt 100,” as they have come to be known, were forced to unknowingly train their own replacements and were then dismissed without warning. The hotel chain refuses to reinstate the fired housekeepers despite climbing profits. Hyatt is the only major national hotel chain in Boston that outsources its housekeeping. The protest march and related boycott was part of a nationwide campaign to hold the giant hotel corporation accountable.