As Seattle hotels prosper, workers call for their share of the economic recovery; union contracts already expired.
Over 150 workers from Seattle-area hotels will gather this afternoon in front of the Westin hotel to call for livable wages, job security, and respect on the job.
This summer, union contracts covering over 1,400 workers have expired. The affected hotels and restaurants include the Westin, Edgewater, Seattle Hilton, Washington Athletic Club, Space Needle, SeaTac Hilton, and the Doubletree.
During the recession, hotels continued to remain profitable through a combination of layoffs, decreased work schedules and increased workloads for staff, burdening its low-wage workforce. According to the industry’s own projections, hotels will be returning to record profit levels by 2012.
“Hotel workers can sometimes seem invisible,” says Erik Van Rossum, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 8, the union representing the workers in the campaign. “They create luxury in Seattle’s hotels by cleaning the rooms, washing the dishes, and cooking the food, among other thankless jobs. But now they are standing up with one voice to demand respect and fairness.”