BAUEN HOTEL WORKERS ATTACKED
Early on Dec. 8, a delegation of 12 cooperative members from the autonomous worker-controlled Bauen hotel were violently ousted from the Buenos Aires municipal legislature as they sought to attend a debate concerning their dispute with the hotel's former owners. A larger group of Bauen workers had been waiting for eight hours outside the legislature, but when the debate finally began at around 2:30am, only 12 of the 60 workers remaining outside were allowed to enter the chambers, even though the sessions are supposed to be open to the public.
Shortly after the debate began, the 12 Bauen workers --most of them women --began to whistle their disapproval at deputy Mario Morando, author of a bill which seeks to return the Bauen hotel to the Iurcovich family, its original owners. Legislature president Santiago de Estrada responded by ordering the workers removed. Nearly 50 police agents arrived and attacked the 12 Bauen workers, beating them and spraying some kind of irritant gas in their eyes. After the workers were ejected from the chambers, the legislature continued its discussion, finally approving the creation of a commission of seven deputies to head a four-month negotiation process between the worker cooperative and the former owners. The workers' cooperative is determined to maintain its control of the hotel. The owners shut down the hotel in 2001. Two years later, 40 of the original workers reoccupied it and opened it for business; the workers' cooperative that runs it now has 150 members.
WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE ON THE AMERICAS
ISSUE #828, DECEMBER 11, 2005
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