About 2500 San Francisco’s Marriott affiliated hotel workers join strike to curb work overload

 Friday, October 5, 2018 


San Francisco’s MarriottThousands of housekeepers, cooks and other workers at Marriott-affiliated hotels went on strike in San Francisco and San Jose after months of negotiations for job security, a wage increase and what unions call work overloads.



There are about  2,500 Marriott hotel workers picketed outside at least seven hotels in downtown San Francisco, the heart of the city’s tourist area.



The hotels include the Ritz-Carlton, the Palace Hotel, the W Hotel and the Marriott Marquis. Another 200 walked out in San Jose, said Unite Here union spokeswoman Rachel Gumpert. The strike came at the height of the city’s busy convention season that brings tens of thousands of people to the city, but the company said its hotels would continue operating normally. Nearly 99 percent of the union’s members authorized a strike last month.



San Francisco workers are among the highest paid in the country but their salaries are no longer enough to make ends meet and many workers have to work at least a second job, said Anand Singh, president of the Unite Here Local 2 union. The median monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,400.



Anand Singh, president of the Unite Here Local 2 union said that for the Marriot corporation this is about dollars and cents but for our hotel workers is about their families, livelihoods and children. The hotel workers walked out at seven Marriott hotels in Boston on Wednesday in what union organizers said was that city’s first hotel union strike. The strikes have also been authorized in San Diego, Detroit, Seattle, Oakland and Honolulu and workers could walk out at any time, Gumpert said.


Maryland-based Marriott said its proposal matches the “economic terms” of the last contract and does not propose any benefit changes.



Peter Chaffo, a banquet service worker at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, said he was striking to demand Marriott does not cut workers’ hours and health benefits as it he said it has proposed. The union and the company declined to discuss specifics of the negotiations and proposals.



The negotiations with Marriott began in June for contracts covering nearly 2,500 San Francisco Marriott workers. The contract negotiations will ultimately affect 8,000 hotel workers at more than 50 San Francisco hotels.



The workers are also seeking greater protection from harassment from guests, which has been an issue for hotel workers nationwide. Singh, the Local 2 president, said Marriott and the union addressed the issue “in a way that is mutually agreeable,” but wouldn’t discuss details.



A five-year agreement to avert a strike of hotel workers recently in Las Vegas included a requirement to give all housekeepers wireless devices to alert security in the event of threats.


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