Over the last two years, the Fed Up Campaign has routinely brought a coalition of low-wage workers to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to protest Federal Reserve hike rates amidst the unequal “economic recovery.” The Jackson Hole event is invite only, closed to the public and costs $1,000 per person to attend.
It appears that this year, Janet Yellen and company went out of their way to ensure there would be no such protests diverting the attention of the nation's most esteemed economists.
According to a formal complaint filed by Ady Barkan, the Campaign Director for the Fed Up Campaign, to the DOJ and the Department of the Interior, “In early May, members of our coalition made three separate reservations for a total of 13 rooms at the Lodge for the nights of August 24, 25, and 26. We paid for the rooms. We requested and paid for rollaway beds that would allow us to sleep three guests to a room, for a total of 39 guest accommodations.
On July 26, my colleague Ruben Lucio received a phone call and then a follow-up email from Zachary Meyers, the Director of Hotel Operations at the Company, informing us that the Company would not honor our paid-for reservations and we could no longer stay at the Lodge. Meyers informed Lucio of a “reservations system glitch that caused the overbooking of Jackson Lake Lodge affecting your reservations” and explained that “the system issue caused us to take reservations for rooms that we don’t actually have inventory to honor. I’m very sorry for the unfortunate mishap with our systems at GTLC that led to this regrettable situation.”
The complaint also states that of the 18 rooms that were affected by the supposed “glitch,” all 13 rooms that were allocated to the Fed Up Coalition were coincidentally all cancelled. Of course, the hotel denied any knowledge that these rooms were protesting the oligarchs at the Fed.
“There is no legitimate explanation for the Company’s decision. As Klein explained to me, the Company books out its conference and sleeping rooms on a first-come first-serve basis. However, faced with an alleged computer glitch that affected only the three nights we were present, the Company decided to honor reservations made after ours and cancel our reservations. Our reservations constituted only 3 percent of the rooms at Jackson Lake Lodge (13 out of 385), yet the Company decided that our group would bear 72 percent of the total burden for its mistake (13 rooms out of 18 overbooked reservations). This is egregious disparate treatment.
In addition, Klein’s stated rationale for selecting our 13 rooms for cancellation is an explicit and intentional targeting of our First Amendment right to assemble on government property: he selected us precisely because we are a group of multiple guests. Because we were arriving in groups of 5, 5, and 3 rooms, we would not be allowed at the Lodge. (Yet Klein notably did not remove rooms from the reservation block belonging to the Kansas City Federal Reserve, even though its block was far larger than ours and would have been even “easier” to cancel.)”
According to the Intercept, the Fed Up coalition is still planning to attend the conference. “They still expect 120 members, their largest contingent ever, to attend the proceedings, but they will have to stay in alternative accommodations that are a 20- to 30-minute drive away, separate from symposium guests and the press.”
We are sure that the Fed, already criticized for its lack of diversity, had no say in this mysteriously convenient “glitch.”
Perhaps Mr. Fisher does not like being confronted by “everyday Americans” who
bear the brunt of his decisions.