Magazine article International Musician

TMA Shows Support for Hyatt Workers on Strike

Magazine article International Musician

TMA Shows Support for Hyatt Workers on Strike

Article excerpt

Allen Biggs, Theater Musicians Association (TMA) Northern California director and member of Local 6 (San Francisco, CA), lent his time and support to striking Hyatt workers in San Francisco Monday, September 13.

"They were only actively striking until Wednesday," explains Biggs, who didn't find out about the strike until its first day. "I thought, 'I can go down there and walk on the line with these people who are having similar issues.'" So he did, but he didn't go empty-handed. "I took a marching snare drum," he says.

Workers at Hyatt hotels in Chicago, Honolulu, and Los Angeles were also striking September 13-15. In attendance at Chicago's strike was TMA President Tom Mendel, who walked the line to show his support Tuesday.

"In San Francisco," says Biggs, "they had the strikers walk in two circles near the main entrance. It seemed to me the Muzak that they were playing was getting louder, probably to drown out the chanting and cheering. I just kept playing." The live music began to affect both sides of the crowd, helping maintain a nonadversarial environment. "Strikers who were tired came back to the line, and the group got bigger. I looked over and saw the toes tapping on one of the security guards, and another guy, I think he was a limo driver for the Hyatt-he was all-out dancing."

The demonstration also captured the attention of many tourists, who stopped to snap pictures and shoot video. "It was a festive thing," says Biggs, uncertain the tourists knew what they were witnessing. "It was interesting to them. Who knows if they just got off a cable car and said, 'Oh, look, a San Francisco happening! …

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