For immediate release
July 22, 2020
Hotel Companies Must Also End Attempt to Reduce Room Cleaning and Staff During Pandemic
Union calls on industry to abandon its challenge to San Francisco’s hotel cleaning ordinance and end rollbacks of daily room cleaning
NEW YORK—UNITE HERE, the U.S. and Canada hotel workers’ union, today announced that it strongly agrees with the hotel industry’s recommendation that guests be required to wear face masks in public areas, but warned that the industry must go further by ending its attempt to reduce room cleaning and staffing in hotels. The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) released revised guidelines on July 16 that include requiring face coverings and social distancing for guests. Marriott, Hyatt, and other brands swiftly followed with announcements that mask requirements would be implemented as soon as July 27.
UNITE HERE has called for hospitality industry employers to enforce guest masking and increase cleaning and disinfecting protocols. However, the hotel lobby continues to advocate for less cleaning, not more, during the pandemic. The AHLA joined the Hotel Council of San Francisco and the California Hotel and Lodging Association on July 20 to sue the city of San Francisco over a city ordinance that requires disinfection of high-touch surfaces and continuing a practice of daily room cleaning.
The AHLA recommends hoteliers stop offering daily room cleaning—which is recommended by the World Health Organization, government regulations in countries that have quelled the pandemic, and in guidelines at the state and local levels in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and San Francisco—unless it is requested by a guest. Eliminating daily room cleaning would save the hotel industry millions in labor costs at the expense of devastation for Black and brown workers who were laid off from those jobs and would not be called back.
UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor said, “It’s about time that the hotel industry will require that guests wear masks. Masks should have been mandatory from the moment any hotel opened its doors, as wearing them ensures the safety of both guests and workers. However, masks alone are not enough. The hotel lobby must cease its efforts to block higher cleaning standards. The hotel industry should be advocating for more cleaning and disinfection, instead of using this crisis to decrease staff and increase their bottom line.”