BOSTEN, MASS. – Over 8,000 UniteHere members are stiking Marriott hotels in Detroit, Boston, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco in a labor dispute that is expandining to Marriott operations across the country. This is the largest multi-city hotel worker strike ever.
“UNITE HERE workers are on strike against the richest, biggest, and most powerful hotel company in the world to change the hospitality industry into a place where workers can still achieve the American dream,” said D. Taylor, International President of UNITE HERE. “For too long Marriott workers have struggled to get by, forced to work multiple jobs, sustaining workplace injuries, and having their hours cut, just to get by. Today, thousands of UNITE HERE workers are in the streets striking Marriott across the country because UNITE HERE workers believe one job should be enough to live on!”
Employees decided to walk when labor talks broke down this summer. Contracts were ending for 12,000 employees and management refused to discuss critical issues as well as salary. Workers across the country voted to authorize a strike in September. The last contract negotiated was five years ago during the great recession. The economy was struggling and salaries were not increased. Marriott is now the largest and wealtist hotel chain in the world. In 2017 the company earned $3.2 billion with 6,500 properties around the world.
The hotel chain’s workers want to discuss fair raises but management is refusing to negotiate. It’s impossible to live in some of the nation’s most expensive cities with the present low wage structure. In addition, other issues need to be addressed: workloads, schedules, training, and protections against sexual harassment and violence.
Presently, the Marriott remains unwilling to discuss central issues so employees have decided to strike. While the strike began with 1,500 UNITE HERE housekeepers, bartenders, and door attendants that work at Marriot operations in Boston, over 8,000 Marriot employees are now participating in job actions across the country. At a Boston demonstration on Wednesday, October 3rd, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) said to Marriott workers, “We need to make sure that the people who power this city can afford to live here,” Kennedy told the crowd.