The pillowcase method

If you live in the Bay Area, you are familar with the Hotel Workers strike against the Hyatt and various properties in San Francisco. I have studied this battle and after a ton of input, continued to conclude that the Unions were using a media manipulation tactic to gain an unfair advantage in mediation. Basically, the hotels conceded with every measure, except the contract date. The unions want all contracts nationally to end on the same day – the Hotels will not agree to this as it gives up too much bargaining power.
I could go a lot of places with this post – here we go. Gavin Newsom, our Mayor, received a lot of support and funding from the Hotel Council in San Francisco. Yet, our gutsy Mayor, woke up one morning, plastered some gel in his hair, and walked a picket line with the union workers. Whether I agree with him or not- damn, that is someone who is NOT a politician. Made me really respect the guy.
Last week, I was sitting in a board meeting for Emerge California. www.emergeca.org
At the beginning of the meeting, we provided time for the local Union to come in and talk to us about their fight. As the young representative talked about the situation, I must admit I looked at my fingernails once or twice. Then….
A woman in her 50’s stood up and introduced herself. She paused and looked around the room. She asked us, “Think about the last time you changed a pillowcase. She stopped for a moment and asked the question again. She then asked, “Imagine changing pillowcases all day. Can you imagine it? All day long. This is not easy labor.”
I hate changing pillowcases. It is not easy work. Why do we pay hotel workers, primarily women, at such a low wage. is it because this is a traditionally female dominated position? Do we not consider it hard work.
I realized I was sitting in a room getting ready to talk about politics and women. I am also in a city where our Mayor is putting women in traditionally male roles.. police fire…
This woman changed the way I feel about this hotel strike.
How? She didn’t talk ‘about’ things.. no charts… no graphs… just shared a human experience. In such a powerful way. To make it more powerful, next time she can bring a couple of pillows and have folks actually do it.
Now that, the pillowcase method, is great communication. To change a mind, we must first be heard. I heard you dear.

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