Nearly 8,000 union members have gone on strike at Marriott hotels in seven cities around the country, including San Diego. Workers at the Westin Gaslamp Hotel joined the nationwide walkout this week, and are picketing in shifts from 4am to midnight daily.
Locals from UNITE HERE around the country started taking strike authorization votes in September, as members grew frustrated working under expired contracts. To date, there are also picket lines in Detroit, Boston, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with five locations in Hawaii.
While the theme for the work stoppage is “One Job Should Be Enough,” the union is pushing for new contracts will cover more than just raises. The union has made a big push to force hotel companies to adopt panic buttons for housekeepers, as a way to reduce the likelihood of sexual harassment and assault.
In San Diego and other cities, other unions including the Teamsters and flight attendants, along with local politicians have joined UNITE HERE strikers in walking the picket lines.
Dad duties have me home with the baby but my #D3 team spent their lunch supporting @UNITEHERE30 in their fight for a fair contract, because #1job should be enough! Join us in supporting these hard working San Diegans by contributing to the strike fund. https://t.co/WUhnIKPU91 pic.twitter.com/lLbkxkXWt7
— Christopher Ward (@ChrisWardD3) October 10, 2018
From Union-Tribune coverage:
In addition to fighting for improved pay and health benefits, the union has raised concerns surrounding increasing automation that could potentially jeopardize jobs, as well as so-called “green” initiatives that let guests opt out of having their rooms cleaned. In some cases, such initiatives lead to hours being cut, and once guests do check out of those rooms, the union argues that there can be considerably more work involved to clean them.
“This is about workers being able to provide for their families and live in the city where they work,” said Brigette Browning, Unite Here Local 30 president. “It’s about one job being enough, especially for workers of the largest, most profitable hotel company in the world.”
Marriott would not discuss the strike but offered a blanket statement saying it was disappointed that Unite Here had chosen to “resort to a strike.”
— UNITE HERE Local 30 (@UNITEHERE30) October 11, 2018
Marriott is the largest and richest hotel company on the planet, earning $22.9 Billion in revenue and $3.2 billion in profits in 2017 alone. It has more employees at it 6,700 locations globally than Microsoft, Facebook, Amerian Airlines and Boeing. Not long ago, the company reported a profit of $610 million for the second quarter, up 25% from the previous year.
Workers with the company want a larger share of that revenue, pointing to servers’ and housekeepers’ low wages (which vary by city) making it impossible to live in some of the nation’s most expensive cities. They’re also asking Marriott to ease strenuous workloads that often lead to injuries, and for more protection against sexual harassment and violence.
UNITE HERE affiliates spent months in negotiations with properties in cities across the country as contracts expired, and called for strike authorization votes last month after the company failed to make significant movement on key issues. The union says they will stay on strike indefinitely in order to win concessions.
Employee tensions began to surge this summer, when labor contracts for about 12,000 Marriott workers started to expire. Employees spent the summer picketing and marching outside some of the country’s most prominent hotels, urging the world’s largest hotel company to give them more money and better benefits.
By September, negotiations with the hotel company had stalled, and workers across the country voted to authorize a strike. On Labor Day, police arrested 75 Marriott employees for blocking a street as they protested outside the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco.
“Marriott is the richest and most profitable hotel company in the world,”, said UNITE HERE President D. Taylor, “and by taking them on in this historic hotel worker strike, UNITE HERE union members are going to change the lives of all workers in our industry.”
Non-union hotel workers make an average of $90 less per week according to the Bureau of Labor Standards.
The last real wage numbers before November came this morning. The final verdict on the Trump economy is in: Corrupt. pic.twitter.com/79muzJD16p
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) October 11, 2018
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