ASEEES Conferences, Unions & the Fair Hotel Pledge: A Petition

Margaret Samu's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I am sending along a petition that may be of interest to SHERAns involved with the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Best regards,
Margaret Samu, Lecturer

The New School Parsons School of Design



Dear colleagues, 


As you may know, workers employed at Marriott Hotels in the Boston Area are currently on strike. Many ASEEES members have been following the dispute, either because they are worried about convening in Boston for the annual meeting in early December and potentially facing a picket line, or because they see it as an issue that professional organizations such as ASEEES may face at any time and want to be proactive about. Most prominently, the Association of Jewish Studies is currently attempting to move their annual meeting away from a hotel included in the strike. The ‘good news’ for ASEEES members is, the hotel where our meeting will take place this year is not affected, though for a not so good reason: the workers at this particular hotel are not unionized. 


Nonetheless, we believe it is time for ASEEES to clarify its position toward eventual labor disputes at convention hotels. We propose that ASEEES become a Fair Hotel Partner, i.e. pledges to organize major events only at unionized hotels. Alongside the pledge that would include insisting on protective language in any future event contract so that ASEEES has the chance to cancel a contract in the case of a labor dispute. You can find more details about the campaign at 


We encourage ASEEES members to follow the example of organizations such as American Federation of Teachers, American Philosophical Association, the American Studies Association, California Faculty Association, California Teachers Association, Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California, Union of Concerned Scientists, and United Teachers Los Angeles that have already signed the Fair Hotel Pledge. 


We will petition the Board of ASEEES to consider signing the Fair Hotel Pledge and solicit a vote on the issue by ASEEES members. We understand that the pledge will take several years to take effect since convention contracts are signed for years in advance. We believe that signing the FairHotel Pledge is an appropriate and necessary step for ASEEES. It is important not only to ensure that future conventions take place in venues where workers are treated fairly. More urgently, it is important signal to the workers, whose labor is essential for our work, that we stand with them in their struggle for fair labor conditions. 


To support the petition to the Board of ASEEES, please, enter your name, title, institution, and e-mail in the following  google-document:

If you have trouble with the format, I would be happy to enter your name for you. If you have questions, please, don't hesitate to write to me or Anika Walke (


Thank you for supporting this initiative.


Initial signatories:


Elissa Bemporad, Jerry and William Ungar Associate Professor of East European Jewish History and the Holocaust at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center


Melissa Bokovoy, Chair and Professor of History, University of New Mexico; Councilor, Research Division, American Historical Association


Rossen Djagalov, Assistant Professor of Russian, New York University


Sara Feldman, Preceptor in Yiddish, Harvard University 


Donald Filtzer, Emeritus Professor of Russian History, University of East London, UK


Wendy Goldman, Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University


Lisa Kirschenbaum, Professor of History, West Chester University 


Jill Massino, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina-Charlotte


Joan Neuberger, Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin


Kevin Platt, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Russian and East European Studies, University of Pennsylvania


Sasha Senderovich, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Washington, Seattle


Lewis Siegelbaum, Jack & Margaret Sweet Professor Emeritus of History, Michigan State University 


Anika Walke, Assistant Professor of History, Washington University in St. Louis


Nancy Wingfield, Emeritus Professor of History, Northern Illinois University