For immediate release
October 15, 2021
UNITE HERE President D Taylor shared remarks today on the future of hotel housekeeping:
“The hotel industry is trying to get back to full occupancy without ever bringing back its full workforce or restoring the services that guests expect and love. The overwhelming majority of UNITE HERE hotel workers are ready and want to go back to work, but the hotel industry’s cuts are putting their livelihoods at risk. What does that look like? In Hawaii, where tourism was booming this summer, some hotels opted guests out of automatic daily housekeeping, kept restaurants closed, and cut other standard services. Occupancy in union hotels there was over 90 percent, but only 64 percent of the pre-pandemic workforce actually got called back to work.
“A hotel without automatic daily housekeeping is almost like a college dorm experience, and guests and workers aren’t going to stand for it. Our housekeepers report that guests have been approaching them in the hallways asking why their rooms still haven’t been cleaned. Guests want daily housekeeping—they don’t want to have to ask every time they need their trash emptied and their dirty towels replaced.
“There’s an even bigger threat to customers that’s looming. Industry analysts question whether switching from automatic to opt-in daily housekeeping could lead to hotels charging guests extra for this standard service. ‘The bigger question that still remains unanswered is whether or not guests will eventually have to pay for housekeeping services,’ hotel consultant Rachel Roginsky told the Boston Globe. We can’t let hotels go the way of the airline industry and start charging guests for services that were once standard and free.
“Our union is not going to let these changes stick. Housekeepers in cities across the U.S. have been welcoming guests outside their hotels and asking them to opt in to daily housekeeping at check-in. We just got numbers from three hotels in Waikiki where housekeepers have been doing this, and between 70 and 93 percent of guests are opting in to having their rooms cleaned. We’re ramping up our campaign and expanding to more cities this month. Housekeepers aren’t going to give up.”