One hundred Hilton workers, labor activists, and supporters gathered on Labor Day to call for job security at Seattle’s Hilton Hotel. The demonstration was organized in response to the R.C. Hedreen Company’s decision to put the Seattle Hilton up for sale without securing job protections, jeopardizing over 100 hotel jobs currently under union contract.
Ten community supporters, including 2 workers at other Seattle area hotels, were arrested as they blocked the streets to send a message about the importance of job security in the hospitality industry.
“We could be fired any day when the hotel is sold, and replaced with minimum-wage workers,” says Chuck Cruise, a second-generation bellman at the Seattle Hilton with over 20 years experience. “They have the power to save our jobs as a condition of sale, all we’re asking is that they use that power to take care of their workers. We’ve given them years of loyal service.”
Even in this tough economy, hotels continue to remain profitable through a combination of layoffs, decreased work schedules and increased workloads for staff, burdening a low-wage workforce. According to the industry’s own projections, hotels will be returning to record profits by 2012.
Real estate investment companies are recognizing the renewed profitability of hotels, particularly in Seattle, which is among the top 25 hotel markets in the country with demand at pre-recession levels. Recently, the Seattle’s Red Lion sold for $71 million to Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises.
Meanwhile, hotel workers at the Hilton are trying not to get stuck in the permanent recession.
UNITE HERE Local 8 is making waves all over Seattle. You can be a part of the movement for hotel justice. Stay tuned for action alerts over email or “like” us on facebook – www.facebook.com/local8.
Also, check out the recent flash mob at the Westin.