Signs of the Times - Protest Statement from the Omni Four
July 2001
Direct Action: Protest Statement from the Omni Four
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We chain ourselves here to protest the fact that Omni Charlottesville does not pay a living wage to all of its employees. As people of conscience, we feel that it is both morally and economically unacceptable for a business to generate profit while at the same time impoverishing the very people on who's success it is built. With a huge budget like the one Omni has, paying employees a living wage would be a mere drop in the bucket, but would make a world of difference to its employees.

We demand a Living Wage of at least $8.65/hour, effective immediately, for all employees. This is the wage required for a family of four to be just at the poverty threshold established annually by the Department of Health and Human Services. It is antithetical to the notion of the American Dream for people to work hard each day only to fall deeper into poverty. Yet this situation is made a reality every day when hotels and other businesses such as Omni and Courtyard by Marriott pay poverty wages. Unless a business is paying a Living Wage, we must recognize it as a poverty creating force within our community. Higher wages mean increased employee loyalty and a lower turnover rate, which reduce training costs and increase efficiency. Meeting the bottom line and balancing a checkbook is both a privilege and a destructive luxury when accomplished at the expense of the working poor.

We chain ourselves to the elevators here because we have spoken with Omni employees who have beenworking here for a year but who are still earning the same $7.00/hour wage at which they were hired. Excluding management, we have not encountered any Omni employee who has reported wage increases during their time here. These voluntary chains are nothing compared with the poverty which shackles so many people.

We reiterate our commitment to a Living Wage here in Charlottesville and across the nation. We hope this action raises awareness about the urgency of a Living Wage, and sends a message to the business community in Charlottesville that we will not tolerate business as usual. People do not live in order to work, rather they work in order to live more comfortably. People must come before profits. Quality of the human condition is of far greater value than any monetary or business related expense.

We demand that Omni pay a living wage effective immediately.

Spot Etal, Andrew Holden, Nicholas Graber-Grace, Abi Miller

We do not act on behalf of any organization, but take this action freely and autonomously in order to create a more just social order.

Contact Omni's General Manager Paul Maher, 971-5500.

Contact City Council, 970-3113.

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