Seven thousand hotel workers across the U.S. are on strike against Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain. Its sales last year totaled $23 billion. But workers haven’t seen this money in their paychecks or benefits – all they’ve seen is more work. Many are working two or three jobs to make ends meet. Rising housing costs have also forced many to live far from where they work, making for extreme commute times. Workers have inconsistent schedules. For many workers once peak tourism season is over, their hours are reduced and they lose their health care coverage. Another strain on hotel workers is Marriott’s program that encourages guests to opt out of housekeeping. But hotel workers say it’s an excuse to cut jobs and make them do more work in less time. If enough hotel guests opt out, housekeepers are sent home, waiting to find out if there’s work for them. Then they have to be on call ready to come back in on short notice.
The hotel workers are part of the union, UNITE HERE, and have three demands for their strike: job security, an end to unsafe overwork, and better wages and benefits. Their slogan is: “One Job Should Be Enough.”
The conditions that these hotel workers face are similar to other workers throughout the country. And their strike is a reminder that the only way to improve our situation is to organize and fight for a better life.