On Sept. 14, workers at the Westin Seattle voted 98 percent to authorize a strike against our employer, Marriott International. Within a two-week span, over 8,000 Marriott workers in Boston, Honolulu, Maui, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, and Detroit voted overwhelmingly to do the same.
We are room attendants, bell attendants, house attendants, and dishwashers at the Westin. We are also members of UNITE HERE Local 8 and union leaders who have decided along with our coworkers and with union Marriott workers across the country that striking is a necessary next step in our campaign for a fair contract.
All of us immigrated to the United States from China and the Philippines. Most of our coworkers are from other countries as well. For many of us, the first work we were able to find in Seattle was in hotels.
That is why it is so important to us to organize through our union to make our jobs better. The decision to strike is not an easy one for us and our families.
Already, too many of us are struggling to afford housing, feed our families, and keep up with the cost of living in Seattle. We have less money to send to family back home. But it is precisely because we are struggling that we have chosen to take this stand and fight for a better future for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Marriott bought Starwood Hotels & Resorts and took over operations of the Westin Seattle in 2016, making us employees of the largest and richest hotel company in the world. But Marriott’s management has only made our jobs harder.
Through programs like “Make a Green Choice,” where guests are encouraged to refuse housekeeping services, our hours have been cut and our income has become unreliable. Paradoxically, when work is available, it is more difficult and physically demanding than ever before. Many of us don’t make full-time hours yet do the work of multiple people. As Marriott considers adopting various forms of new technology, ranging from mobile check-in to room service robots, our jobs are under further threat.
Throughout this campaign, our message to Marriott has been simple: One job should be enough. Marriott is the largest and the richest hotel company, and they need to do better for the people who work for them. There is no reason why Marriott employees should be going to work in pain, losing sleep over reduced hours, or struggling to pay rent, while Marriott shareholders reap the profits of our hard work.
Our successful strike authorization vote means that we can make the decision to strike at any time. And when we do, we need the support of the community in order to be successful. If and when a strike against Marriott is called, we hope that you will stand with us by joining us on the picket line, donating to our hardship fund, and refusing to eat, sleep, or meet at a Marriott hotel.
— Andy Huang, Bell Attendant
— Xingyi Huang, Room Attendant
— Joel Paclibon, Dishwasher
— Flora Tabalbag, Room Attendant
— Jian Hua Wu, House Attendant
— Weizu Xie, Room Attendant