Sunday, April 30, 2006

On the eve of the "Day of Action"

Here we are on one of the many fault lines of the USA's burning immigration question.

We are in a hotel.

The general manager today posted a letter by the elevator. It began, "Dear Valued Guest..."

The hotelier went on to say, in a full-page, single-spaced, typewritten missive, that every effort will be made to make our stay here as enjoyable and carefree as possible, but, in effect, he has no idea what will happen tomorrow.

In other words, and we're paraphrasing here, they have no idea if the housekeeping staff will show for work.

We are in North Carolina on important business and have been in the same hotel going on two weeks now (hence the spotty blogging of late).

The night desk clerk says some of the housekeeping staff has informed management they will not be showing up for work tomorrow, when the LA-based "National Day of Action" boycott is supposed to deliver a message to America, which is, if we may be so bold to boil it down for you: "You need us as much as we need you."

Other members of the housekeeping staff, the night clerk adds, has informed management they will indeed be on the job tomorrow.

No one who stays home, however, will be fired, so long as they "call in" beforehand, the affable clerk, an African American, tells us.

The boss, he explains, is a pretty good guy to work for.

"Should be interesting to see what happens," say we.

"If you see me cleaning your room tomorrow," he says, "Then you'll know what happened."

North Carolina's not much different from Texas so far as undocumented workers are concerned.

At the Chinese restaurant yesterday, the waitress could hardly speak much a lick of English. The food and service were adequate, though there was a problem explaining what "balsamic vinegar" was since the waitress ended up deliverying a small cup of just regular old vinegar. Somehow, we survived.

At homes construction sites, you're more likely to hear Mexican music on the always-present boom box rather than rock or C&W.

North Carolina, says the Sunday Herald-Sun in Durham, has one of the country's highest percentages of Hispanic residents, with about 270,000 immigrant workers.

No idea whether this means our hotel room gets cleaned tomorrow; will update as events warrant ...

UPDATE: 4 of the 12 members of the hotel housekeeping staff reported for duty; the room was cleaned. That is all.


JD Allen said...

Burning immigrants, huh? I've heard about the Burning Man things, but I thought it was some New Age stuff, music and drugs and nudity and the like. I outgrew that in the late 70s.

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