LPS members perform traditional Gujarat dance. Photo/Raj Chauhan

LPS members perform traditional Gujarat dance. Photo/Raj Chauhan

Don Sneigowski of Blue MauMau covers a meeting in Nashville, TN of thousands of Asian American entrepreneurs and professionals with roots from the southern part of India’s state of Gujarat are gathered together to discuss business, review pending legislative bills of concern to the community and to celebrate culture. The Leuva Patidar Samaj of USA, an association dedicated to the community advancement of the Leuva Patidar people in America has been holding its national convention at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center from Wednesday through Friday.

The largest group of hotel franchise owners in America, the Asian American Hotel Owners of America (AAHOA), typically franchise entrepreneurs with ties to Gujarat, held a town hall meeting Wednesday afternoon during this event.  With over 22,000 properties, AAHOA members own most of the hotels in America.

The single most important topic to its hotel owner members was this year’s federal card check legislation that so far has not passed the U.S. Senate. Card check or the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 is a proposal to change the current method in which employees. The proposed Employee Free Trade Act would bypass a secret ballot election if over 50% of employees signed authorization cards.

Hotel owner operators fear that the ease in which employees might be able to unionize under the Employee Free Trade Act would put their hotel businesses as a potential target of unionization if the bill passes.

“Obviously, it’s very, very bad for business,” said Tarun Patel, chairman of AAHOA, as he presented the problems with the card check legislation to members in a Town Hall meeting. “AAHOA over the last 18 months has tried to hit every congressman that there is. We have tried to convince them that it isn’t the right thing for business.”

One member rose from his chair to the public microphone to ask of AAHOA’s board members, “We should think another way that this is going to pass no matter what. What can we do to protect our investment? What strategies do you have that can help us out?”

AAHOA’s chairman replied that with Al Franken now being approved as Minnesota’s senator and Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania switching from Republican to Democrat, “There is momentum now that the Democrats will get alignment all the way through [with the passing of this bill].” He continued, “We need to create educational programs to protect your workplace away from unionizing laborers. One tidbit is that hoteliers need to pay and treat their employees well.”

Blue MauMau