For immediate release
November 4, 2015
Protests call for International Labor Standards to Address Safety Concerns and Poor Wages for Hotel Housekeepers Worldwide
[New York, NY] This week, hotel housekeepers affiliated with UNITE HERE, a union representing 270,000 workers across the U.S. and Canada, will be holding protests in more than 20 cities across North America, spotlighting safety concerns and poor wages faced by many women who clean hotel rooms. These actions are being held in conjunction with protests organized by housekeepers in more than 30 nations worldwide this week in a call for fairer treatment of hotel housekeepers across the global hotel industry.
Hotel housekeepers–overwhelmingly women, immigrants, and people of color–are the invisible backbone of the hotel industry. Their jobs can be grueling and dangerous: they scrub floors on their hands and knees, push heavy carts, lift heavy mattresses, and deal with guests behind closed doors. In 2014, hotel workers in the United States had an on-the-job injury and illness rate that was 73% higher than all service sector workers, and a prominent study published in 2010 found that housekeepers had the highest injury rates of all hotel workers studied. Over time, the work of cleaning rooms, lifting corners of 100-pound mattresses and scrubbing floors can lead to chronic pain or debilitating injuries. Tragically, these injuries are preventable.
Now hotel housekeepers in cities worldwide are holding protests this week, to raise awareness about poor working conditions and secure fairer standards in the industry worldwide. Housekeepers who have unionized with UNITE HERE and other hotel unions globally have been able to achieve more humane workloads, like reduced daily room quotas, in addition to higher wages, access to affordable health care and retirement benefits.
UNITE HERE actions will take place this week in Boston, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Providence, Atlantic City, Hawaii, Seattle, Orlando, Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto and in communities from across British Columbia, including Vancouver, Richmond, Maple Ridge, Squamish, Kelowna, Prince George, and Nanaimo.
To learn more about actions happening this week, follow #fairhousekeeping on Twitter.
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 women and men across North America who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries.