Roughly 7,700 Marriott hotel workers are on strike nationally as of Monday, as housekeepers, desk attendants, and other non-management employees from a handful of Hawaii hotels joined strikes already ongoing in Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Detroit, and San Diego.
The workers, represented by Unite Here, are demanding higher wages, job protection, and workplace safety. Unite Here has been in talks with Marriott management for months, according to a press release, but authorized strikes when the company failed to make adequate progress on their demands. Talks are ongoing, but Unite Here warns more Marriott employees may strike at any time, and they will not resume work until their demands are met.
“Marriott is the richest and most profitable hotel company in the world,” said D. Taylor, international president of Unite Here, in a statement, “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.”
Workers stress the need for a living wage, one that will allow them to support themselves on a single job. Workers in Boston, the first city to strike on Oct. 3, state that “One job should be enough.”
“I am striking because I have to work three jobs to try and cover all my family’s expenses,” said Brooke Melanson, a bartender at the Westin Boston Waterfront, in a statement. “Just like any parent, I want time with my children to see them grow up. We hear all the time how well Marriott is doing. We want Marriott to recognize our contribution to their success.”
According to USA Today, nearly two dozen hotels have been affected by the strikes; Marriott manages 850 properties across the U.S. and Canada (with thousands more through its subsidiaries around the world).
In a statement to USA Today, Marriott said it is “disappointed that Unite Here has chosen to resort to a strike instead of attempting to resolve these disputes at the bargaining table.”
“During the strike our hotels are open, we have contingency plans in place and are activating those plans. We stand ready to serve our guests,” the statement continued. “While we respect our associates’ rights to participate in this work stoppage, we also will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work.”