Long Beach Post: “The Urgency of Now—Supporting Long Beach Hotel Workers”

By: Naida Tushnet

As a community member who was actively involved in working for an ordinance that guarantees worker safety in the hotel industry, I was dismayed by the OP-ED written by Al Austin and Suzie Price justifying their vote to defeat the ordinance. I was even more dismayed by their votes—and the rationale for the votes—on the ordinance itself.

Let me start with Austin’s statement at City Council: “What’s the hurry?” When he said it, I remembered when clergy and others wrote to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Birmingham, AL, protests. Dr. King wrote: “While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely,” and then went on to explain what others have called, “the urgency of now.” The hurry, Councilmember Austin, is that every day hotel workers are exposed to unsafe conditions. Sexual assault and harassment are brushed aside when workers, who want to change the floors they clean after an uncomfortable encounter, are not allowed to do so. Read full article here.