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Dear Friend of Race Forward, 

Race Forward will be hosting its biennial national conference, Facing Race 2018 in Detroit, Michigan at the Cobo Center, on November 8-10. As you may have heard, one of the secondary hotels we have contracted with is currently in an active labor dispute and their workers have gone on strike. Hotel workers, 160 of them, are currently on strike at The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit (a Marriott franchise partner). This is a multi-site and multi-city strike, but please know that this labor dispute is NOT with all Marriott locations or its franchised partners.

We stand in solidarity with the unions striking at the Westin Book Cadillac and will not cross that or any other picket line, nor expect Facing Race attendees to do so.

Race Forward has taken steps to be in solidarity with the UNITE HERE members by re-negotiating our contract at The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit and moving all of Race Forward’s reservations to the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. We are also in active communications with national union representatives and in partnership with local union organizers. We have invited UNITE HERE representatives to Facing Race and will provide them with stage access to raise awareness about their campaign.

Nia T. Winston, President, UNITEHERE! Local 24 Michigan/Ohio, sent Race Forward and our attendees the following welcome message:

“In Detroit, workers at the Marriott-operated Westin Book Cadillac walked off the job to demand just economics that are comparable with our union-counterparts in the city, set schedules, and safe workloads. We want one job to be enough for us to live in our city, raise our families here, and retire with dignity. We appreciate the support and work of Race Forward, and welcome you to Detroit. We respect your decision to cancel your reservations at the Westin Book Cadillac, and to opt-in for a union hotel where workers are not striking. Striking workers and I look forward to attending the Facing Race conference at the union Cobo Convention Center.” 

Race Forward is committed to racial and social justice and affirms and supports the rights of workers across all industries and stands with them to improve their wages, health benefits, workplace discrimination protections, retirement security, and job site health and safety.

Our primary hotel with the largest room block is the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and is in good and fair standing with its workers. You may hear from other organizations advocating a boycott across the Marriott brand, but we assure you, we would not use this hotel had we not heard from the union itself that it is acceptable to them.

If you are currently booked at The Westin Book Cadillac for the Facing Race Conference, here’s what you can do to change your reservation and support the UNITE HERE workers and their campaign:

  • Email the Facing Race Planning Team at using the Subject: WESTIN, and provide your name and confirmation number, and someone on the planning team will inform you if your reservation is being automatically rebooked as part of Race Forward's re-negotiations.

  • If your reservation is not automatically being re-booked, call and cancel your reservation at The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Tell the Westin management that you support the workers and encourage them to provide the workers with a safe workplace and living wage.

  • Rebook your stay at another hotel in the Detroit area. See the list of fair hotels on our website. 

  • Donate to the UNITE HERE Local 24 campaign in Detroit by clicking here.  

If you are having trouble finding a hotel room, please check with Motor City Hotel and Casino. We have contracted additional rooms at a reduced rate for our attendees now through October 26th. Please be assured that we will continue to monitor these negotiations closely and keep our attendees and supporters informed on any developments.

In solidarity,

Glenn Harris

Race Forward President 





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