LWGMS Boycotts Hyatt; Moves Fundraising Event at 11th Hour

Dear L-Dub Community: I am writing to let you know that we have made a last minute decision to move the venue of our auction out of the Grand Hyatt. The auction will be held a few blocks away, at the Knights of Columbus reception space on Capitol Hill. 

This decision is rooted in both ethics and in pragmatism.  

I heard from an alumnae family a few days ago that the Hyatt is being boycotted for unfair treatment of its workers. That alumnae family was the first to let me know that, while they wholeheartedly support LWGMS and our mission, they would not attend an event at the Hyatt. Since then, I’ve heard from others who share that view.  

In the past few days, the staff and some members of the board have done some research into the issues around the boycott. (More information about the nature of the union's concerns can be found here.) For an explanation of why this decision is mission aligned and why I feel this is the correct ethical decision, please see our press release.

It appears that there may be picketing around the time of our auction. The union had been negotiating with the owner of the Grand Hyatt, but those discussions broke down recently. Pragmatically, we appear to be at risk of lower attendance due to the boycott, which would lead to loss of revenue.

In all decisions related to the school, I begin by asking the question, “What is best for the girls?” It’s clear to me that modeling for our students how to be an ally and to speak up for those who need it is, in fact, what is best for the girls. That’s what those strong voices are for, after all.

LWGMS eighth graders are, serendipitously, learning about the history of labor organizing. This morning, we let them know about our plans to make this change and it melded beautifully into their social studies lesson. I’d like to share with you some of their responses.

It’s incredible what a group of individuals can do when challenged, and it’s incredible that I can be a part of this. To me, this isn’t a dispute of what is right and what is fair; it’s a matter of human rights. Grey

Everybody deserves a chance to stand up for fair treatment. –Maren

It’s important to support people who are not being heard. –Kenzie

People deserve to have a voice for concerns they have. –Paisley

Our school’s motto is strong in mind, body, and voice. By doing this, we are speaking for the women who don’t have a voice at the Grand Hyatt Seattle. –Olivia

I think L-Dub is a community where equality for everyone is important, and supporting the workers is the right thing to do. –Rosie

I am for what we are doing because they are mostly women employees who probably can’t speak their minds to their employers. –Aggie

I think it’s important to help advocate for those who deserve a stronger voice. –Maddy

If I were in this situation I would want support, and I would feel grateful to L-Dub for boycotting. –Hava

By boycotting the hotel, we can spread awareness. –Shilpa

And so, off we go. The auction committee and staff are working furiously to put this show on and I am completely confident we will have a lovely event. I applaud the extraordinary effort by the team to pull off a successful auction while also living up to the mission and values of the school.

Please be sure to check your email for more detailed information about what this changes means for auction guests.