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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 14, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 37
Westin Hotel workers will vote on strike September 14
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Westin Hotel workers will vote on strike September 14

Part of possible 21-location strike against Marriott Corporation

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Workers at Seattle's Westin Hotel announced on September 10 that they will be holding a strike vote against the hotel's owners, Marriott Corporation, on September 14.

The strike, if members of UNITE HERE Local 8 who work at the Westin decide to walk out, is part of a national, 21-location action against Marriott.

On September 10, some 3,500 UNITE HERE Local 5 workers in Hawai'i voted to authorize a strike against six major Marriott properties.

On September 12, 1,800 UNITE HERE Local 26 workers in Boston also authorized a strike against the Marriott chain.

As the SGN goes to press, some 2,500 UNITE HERE Local 2 workers in San Francisco will vote whether to strike seven major Marriott hotels in their city. They are expected to approve the strike.

Four hundred Local 8 members in Seattle are also expected to vote in favor of a strike on September 14.

'Across North America, union workers are ready to fight back against a rigged economy that has left working-class families behind for too long now,' said D. Taylor, international president of UNITE HERE.

'UNITE HERE has a proud tradition of refusing to take concessionary contracts and changing lives around the world by raising the standards for union and non-union hospitality workers. Our members are proud of the exceptional guest service they provide the people who stay in our hotels, but 8,000 Marriott workers are ready and prepared to strike to secure their fair share from a highly profitable company receiving major tax handouts from Donald Trump while workers struggle to get by.'

UNITE HERE represents more than 20,000 Marriott hotel workers across North America, of which more than 12,000 have had their contracts expire and are locked in ongoing negotiations, including workers at Seattle's Westin.

Westin workers, who staged a massive demonstration in front of the hotel on Labor Day, including civil disobedience, at which 21 people were arrested, say they are often forced to work additional jobs to make ends meet.

'My wife and I both work full-time at the Westin, but still I have to work a second job just to pay my bills,' said Mohamed Faik, a cook at the Westin Seattle. 'My sons are getting older, and I am missing important time with them. This company doesn't respect us. It's time to strike for respect and for my family's future.'

Workers also say they need better workplace safety rules, especially because the hotel's so-called 'Green Choice' program - delaying cleaning until the guest checks out of the hotel - has created unsafe workloads.

The Westin Hotel is historic for Seattle's LGBT community because UNITE HERE Local 8 won the first union hotel contract in the country to explicitly protect Trans workers from discrimination and harassment at the Westin in 2007.

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