Unions protest downtown Anchorage Hilton over racist comments

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Dozens of protesters stood beside some local officials and members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in front of the downtown Anchorage Hilton on Monday to make a statement over alleged racist comments made by a former general manager.

According to a statement provided by Unite Here Local 878, members of the union and hotel workers are protesting because the president of the union, Marvin Jones, was disrespected by a former general manager. Jones is African-American.

The statement says that the general manager told Jones multiple times to, ‘know your place,’ while in a meeting with union members.

Dayra Valades is a Unite Here organizer, and said that she witnessed the comments in question as they were made. She said Jones was talking on the phone with the general manager about some issues related to union memberships.

“Then he got upset and he said that he didn’t need to answer to us or to tell us everything that he had done that day, and then he told Marvin, ‘Know your place. I’m not going to be telling you everything that I do,'” she explained.

This apparently happened prior to a meeting between the general manager, assistant general manager, and members of the union. During the meeting, Valades said Jones confronted the general manager about the wording of his comment, and told him he was offended.

“He tried several times to explain it to him,” Valades said about Jones, “then what he [the general manager] said was, ‘Okay, point taken,’ and then he just leaned over the table and repeated several times, ‘know your place, know your place, know your place.’”

Valades said after that, the assistant general manager told Jones that he was, ‘choosing to be offended.’

At the protest, local officials and members of the NAACP came out to show support, joining in on chants and being a part of their voice.

The President of the NAACP, Kevin McGee, said that they would be pursuing an investigation into this issue.

Protesting workers said that the general manager who made the comments doesn’t work at the downtown Hilton anymore, but they said that there wasn’t a punishment from the company or the owner of the hotel. Instead, they say he just got another job and moved on.

Channel 2 reporters did meet with the current general manager of the hotel, but he declined to comment on any of these issues and said a statement would be issued in coming days.

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