“Hotel Workers”

by on February 21, 2006

Editor,

It’s a Women’s Issue: Rewarding Hotel Workers with Opportunity.

Hotel housekeepers – the vast majority of whom are women – make on average $7.85 an hour. To support their families, many women take second or third jobs, rent cramped housing, enroll their kids in government health programs and have older siblings take care of younger ones. At the Hotel Workers Rising campaign kickoff on Wednesday, February 15th (“Over 2000 Rally in SF Kickoff for National Hotel Workers Rising Campaign, Feb. 16”), these realities became poignantly clear in the personal testimonies shared by hotel service workers.

At California NOW we advocate for women and the policies that affect their health, their families and their economic status. We understand that in order to maintain the strong middle class that has been the hallmark of American opportunity, we need to make service jobs that can support a family.

Rewarding work with living wages and affordable health care is not just an economic or labor issue. It’s a women’s issue. That’s why we are proud to stand next to the hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE, Senator John Edwards, Mayor Gavin Newsom and actor and activist Danny Glover in their national movement to provide living wages, affordable health care and opportunities for deserving workers.

We know that when society rewards work, families are stronger, people
are healthier and communities are safer.

Helen Grieco, Executive Director, California NOW

Editor,

I am a hotel worker. The hypocrisy coming from the Hoels’ side is venomous. The article in the Chronicle, Feb. 16, 2006, mentions Mr. Steve Trent, who represents the Hotels side in the bargaining, saying that: “The Local 2 acknowledges that members enjoy the best work standards in the country”, as if it was given by the Hotels to us by a mere act of charity ! and that the Local 2 is ungrateful. Then he adds: ” The Unions’ real motive is to INCREASE its membership while our goal is to work with the Union to address issues affecting employees such as health care, wages, pension, etc.” Does Mr. Trent know that our strength is in our number? He well knows that if the working conditions in the country degraded is because of the tragic downward curve of our membership since the 60’s. Mr. Trent then adds: ” The Union would be more productive if it focuses on reaching a fair contract Rather that STAGING RALLIES that serve no purpose(!!!)”.

Mr. Trent must know that The rallies are our weapons in this fight, we do not have the coffers they have, nor do we have the Chamber of Commerce behind us. Of course the Rallies do not serve any of HIS LOCAL BENEFITS. Towards the end of article, Mr. Joseph McInerney, the CEO of the American Hotels and Lodging Association, prefers a secret ballot rather than a card-check neutrality system. He calls his secret ballot: fair and democratic! We the Workers must be alert to the language the Hotels use to dupe the majority of us and the people of San Francisco who supported us during our ordeal: the Strike and the Lockout. P.S. I hope our members and the public remember that Proposition L that passed with Land slide was sponsored by MATT GONZLEZ not Newsom who opposed it in the beginning. Our union was the only major Union, sadly, to endorse Gonzalez during the mayoral race, because we were forced to do so due to Prop L. Prop L brought the minimum wage to 8.50/hour. I also would like to mention that Gonzalez and Chris Daly came to our rallies many times for hours, while Newsom showed up once for few minutes.

Nafiss Griffis

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