Hotel workers and community allies launch hunger strike outside Hilton Mission Valley

SAN DIEGO – Hotel workers and their allies launched a five-day hunger strike on Friday, April 5 to protest the unfair use of E-verify by the Hilton Mission Valley, amid hotel workers’ year-long effort to organize a union.

The sudden use of E-verify came in late March when a new management company took over the hotel and voluntarily subjected the hotel workers to the system. Hotel workers, clergy and community activists rallied at the launch of the hunger strike on Friday calling the hotel’s plan to fire the nine long-time hotel employees who the system flagged unfair.

Hotel managers told the nine employees they had until Monday, April 8 or Tuesday, April 9 to fix problems with paperwork or face termination.

“We can’t stand by as immigrant workers face firing after being  subjected to the flawed and unfair E-Verify system.” said Brigette Browning, President of UNITE HERE Local 30. “This hunger strike highlights that these workers and their families deserve the same opportunities to work and the same respect as all of San Diego’s working families, and the community stands with them and all immigrant workers who face unfair treatment.”

Among those joining the hunger strikers to launch the action on Friday were Congressman Scott Peters, State Senator Ben Hueso, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria, San Diego Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez, Reverend Beth Johnson from the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, and immigrant rights leader Christian Ramirez. Hunger strikers and threatened workers were joined later in the afternoon by incoming San Diego Unified School Superintendent Cindy Marten and SDUSD School Board members Richard Barrera and Marne Foster.

Events and actions will be continuing through 12 p.m. on Tuesday, including visits to the Hilton Mission Valley by Congressman Juan Vargas at 10 a.m. on Saturday to discuss progress on federal immigration reform efforts, a community solidarity rally with Mayor Bob Filner Sunday at 1 p.m., and a candlelight vigil Monday evening at 7 p.m.

Additional updates on events and special guests are being posted via the Twitter hashtag #sandiegonine and on Facebook at

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