San Jose, CA–About 250 workers at the Doubletree San Jose walked off the job early morning on June 4, the first strike at a Silicon Valley hotel since the region’s hotel industry began its rapid expansion in the 1980s.
Workers are confronting company efforts to impose long-term wage freezes and underfund health care, even while the hotel’s owner makes hundreds of millions in profits. The Doubletree is part of the Hilton chain – which is owned by the giant investment firm, Blackstone Group [NYSE: BX].
"I dream of sending my four year old son to preschool," said Dolores Dominguez, a banquet server who has worked at the Doubletree for 9 years. "But there’s no way I could do that right now, especially if the hotel keeps squeezing us like this. I’m on strike for my family, so I can give them a good education and keep them healthy."
The strike comes after 11 months of negotiations between workers and management, and is a milestone in the growing movement of Silicon Valley hotel workers. Workers are taking a stand against the growing inequality, where large corporations have made record profits in the past years while workers see little benefits of the economic recovery.
Blackstone, owner of the Doubletree, made over $1 billion dollars profit during the past 6 months alone, and has over $1 billion cash on hand. Already one of the largest owners of hotels worldwide, Blackstone expanded its presence in the hotel industry just last month with a $1.9 billion acquisition of the Motel 6 chain. By contrast, a hotel housekeeper at the Doubletree earns $12.80 an hour, or around $20,000 per year.
The Doubletree strike lasted until Friday, June 8. The hotel is located at 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose (near the intersection of Brokaw Road and CA101).
Read the press coverage:
- Workers at DoubleTree hotel in San Jose conclude four-day strike, 6/8/2012, Mercury News
- Doubletree Hotel workers strike over health care, wages, 6/4/2012, KTVU