Thousands of Marriott employees whose contracts expire this year took to the streets earlier this month, demanding better worker compensation, job security and sexual harassment protocols—and recent strike votes show that the protests will only continue in other cities across the country.
While Marriott strikes representing about 30 properties in Chicago were already held earlier this month and a handful of agreements were met this week as a result, meeting planners can expect more protests soon outside of the Windy City. UNITE HERE union workers overwhelmingly authorized strikes in Boston, Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii on Sept. 12, followed by San Jose, Calif., and San Francisco on Sept. 13, and then Seattle on Sept. 14. All six union groups voted yes to go on strikes at properties in their respective cities at any time.
UNITE HERE Local 26, representing 1,800 hotel employees, voted to authorize a strike at eight Boston hotels: the W, Westin Copley, Westin Boston Waterfront, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton Boston, Aloft and Element hotels.
Same goes for UNITE HERE Local 5 in Hawaii, where contracts are being negotiated for 3,500 hotel employees at six Marriott-operated hotels: Waikiki Beach Marriott, Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and Sheraton Maui.
In San Francisco, about 2,500 employees at seven hotels had contracts expire on Aug. 15. UNITE HERE Local 2 union members voted to strike at San Francisco Marriott Union Square, Palace Hotel by Marriott, W San Francisco by Marriott, Westin St. Francis Union Square by Marriott, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Courtyard San Francisco Downtown by Marriott and St. Regis San Francisco. Similarly, San Jose’s UNITE HERE Local 19 workers authorized a strike at San Jose Marriott.
UNITE HERE Local 8 voted 98 percent in favor of a strike, representing 400 union members at the Seattle Westin. And earlier this week, employees at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit by Marriott in Michigan voted to strike as well. Additional hotels impacted due to expired contracts include Oakland Marriott City Center by Marriott in California and The Westin Gaslamp Quarter San Diego by Marriott, also in California.
While Marriott has yet to release an official statement (and has yet to respond to emails) regarding the strike, the company announced earlier this month that its ramping up deployment of alert devices for housekeepers as part of its ongoing focus on safety for employees. The devices will become standard across its entire hotel portfolio by 2020.