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San Francisco braces for hotel strike

The traditionally scrappy labor scene in San Francisco heard the dreaded "strike" word last week as pickets from Unite Here Local 2 marched in front of the historic Westin St. Francis Hotel on Union Square. "Very soon, we're going to have a contract or we're going to have a strike," a Unite Here spokesperson told reporters. Members have been working without a contract since 2004, despite a two-week strike and seven-week lockout that fall.

A strike could deliver a blow to San Francisco's hospitality scene, which has seen a rebound since 9/11 and the dot-com bust that crippled Silicon Valley.

Hotels now negotiating with the union include such landmark properties as the Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hilton San Francisco, Hyatt Regency, Sheraton Palace and Omni.

Unite Here has staged aggressive campaigns recently to persuade event planners to avoid non-union hotels. Its "Informed Meetings Exchange" site, or Inmex, provides subscribers with information on hotel labor disputes.

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