For immediate release
August 26, 2011
W Hollywood Demanded Proof of Social Security Numbers 4 Days After Housekeepers Spoke Up about Heavy Workload
Immigration, labor, community groups rally in support of W housekeepers, Incident underscores need for immigration policy overhaul
Hollywood–Hotel housekeepers and immigration rights activists gathered in front of the new W Hotel in Hollywood on Friday, Aug. 26, to condemn the W for demanding Latina housekeepers show proof of social security numbers, more than one year after being hired. The hotel is owned by HEI.
The W’s demand came just four days after housekeepers complained about heavy workloads at a union negotiating session. The housekeepers also recently filled out missed break complaints to be filed with the State of California’s Department of Labor.
On Monday, managers started suspending housekeepers from work and told them they have three days to verify their social security numbers. However, W managers notified union officials late in the day Thursday that the suspended housekeepers would be brought back to work.
Immigrant rights groups rallied in support of the W housekeepers on Friday, urging the W to make the decision permanent and never do it again.
"The W and its owner, HEI, must get the message that this community will not stand for a company profiting off of the hard-work of immigrants, then after they excise their rights, create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation," said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.
Housekeepers produced documents verifying their eligibility to work in the US when they were hired at the Hollywood hotel more than one year ago.
"Just 4 days after attending union negotiations and complaining about heavy housekeeping workloads, managers began questioning Latina housekeepers about unverified social security numbers," said Daniella Rodriguez, a W housekeeper. "Managers sent at least 6 of my co-workers home and said they have three days to verify their Social Security numbers."