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Largest picket in SeaTac history backs area hotel workers

SEATAC (Aug. 5) — An estimated 400 SeaTac hospitality workers and labor supporters gathered Thursday afternoon in front of the DoubleTree Hotel near the SeaTac Airport to call for livable wages, job security, and respect on the job.

This summer, union contracts covering more than 1,400 workers have expired.  The affected businesses include the Hilton and Doubletree Hotels in SeaTac, as well as the Westin, Edgewater, Seattle Hilton, Washington Athletic Club, and Space Needle Restaurant in Seattle.

“When the economy crashed, workers sacrificed along with the hotels,” said Erik Van Rossum, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 8, the union representing the workers in the campaign. “But now hotels are profitable, and they are trying to keep their workers in a permanent recession.”

During the recession, hotels continued to remain profitable through a combination of layoffs, decreased work schedules and increased workloads for staff. The hotel industry’s own projections now predict record profit levels by next year.

The picket represents the largest demonstration in SeaTac city history, as workers organize to demand their share of the economic recovery. It comes on the heels of a recent downtown Seattle rally on July 22 that gathered more than 600 people to support hotel workers.

Negotiations are currently underway at the affected hotels and restaurants, with bargaining likely to continue for the next several weeks.

UNITE HERE Local 8 represents about 4,000 workers in the hospitality industries of Washington State. Local 8 members work in hotels, restaurants, food service, and airport concessions. They include room cleaners, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, food and beverage servers, bussers, and dishwashers.

For more information about UNITE HERE Local 8, visit

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