Thousands of Marriott workers head back to work after a US$4 hourly raise
Around 8000 housekeepers, bartenders, and other service workers walked off the job at hotels in Detroit, Boston, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Maui and Oahu over frustration at the slow pace of negotiations to replace their five-year employment contracts that were ending.
However, the dispute finally resolved when a remaining 2500 striking hotel workers in San Francisco ratified a new contract with the hotel chain that will see housekeepers get a US$4 hourly raise over the next four years. Currently their median hourly wage is US$23 an hour.
The worker unrest came at a time when the company was making record earnings. After buying Starwood Hotels in 2016, Marriott bacame the largest hotel company in the world and had net profits last year of US$1.37 billion, with the workers arguing they deserve a larger share of that revenue.
They’re also asked the hotel chain for more protection against sexual harassment and violence. As part of all new contracts, Marriott will provide GPS-enabled panic buttons for housekeepers to alert security staff if they feel unsafe with a guest when cleaning a room. And for the first time, the company has agreed to ban guests who have a history of sexually harassing workers.
Labour hire union Unite Here described the new contracts as “historic” for the leisure and hospitality industry.
“[This] marks the beginning of a new standard for hotel workers in North America, and has made Marriott a leader in the hospitality industry by ensuring that one job is enough for hotel workers to live with dignity,” of Unite Here president Donald D. Taylor said in a statement.