SEATTLE — Hotel workers at the Marriott-owned Westin Seattle have been in negotiations for a new union contract since June and are fighting to make one job enough to live in Seattle, raise their families, and retire with dignity. In September, Westin workers voted by a 98 percent majority to authorize a strike. If they strike, they would be joining thousands of Marriott workers in Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Detroit, Maui and Honolulu who are now on open-ended strikes.
On Friday, Oct. 12, Westin workers and their union, UNITE HERE Local 8, will be in bargaining with the hotel and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
TAKE A STAND! The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is calling on all area union members and supporters to join Westin workers at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 for a community rally outside the hotel, 1900 5th Ave. in downtown Seattle, as union tradeswomen from the Women Build Nations conference there rally alongside housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers, servers, and other Westin hotel workers. As this critical bargaining session plays out inside the hotel, the labor movement and its supporters will show their solidarity and power in the street outside. Get details and RSVP at the Facebook event page.
On Labor Day, Sept. 3, hundreds of Marriott hotel workers and their supporters demonstrated outside of the Westin Seattle and staged a civil disobedience resulting in the arrest of 21 UNITE HERE Local 8 members and supporters, including Jeff Johnson and Lynne Dodson, the executive officers of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
“Marriott is the largest and richest hotel company in the world,” said Local 8 President Erik Van Rossum, who took arrest in the civil disobedience action. “Their success is the result of the hard work of thousands of UNITE HERE members across the country. Today, we said ‘Enough!’ to jobs that produce billions in revenues for Marriott but don’t provide workers the ability to support themselves and their families.”
UNITE HERE represents more than 20,000 Marriott hotel workers across North America, of whom more than 12,000 have had their contracts expire and many of whom are now on strike in eight U.S. cities. Three of the most crucial points of disagreement include the need for Marriott to be a leader in the hospitality industry, and recognize their role as the largest and most profitable hotel company in the world, by offering workers jobs that are enough for them to live on.
Additionally, workers are fighting for improved workplace safety, particularly around unsafe workloads and strenuous physical labor created by the so-called “Green Choice” program, and pioneering job protections around technology and innovation in the hospitality industry.
“Across North America, union workers are ready to fight back against a rigged economy that has left working-class families behind for too long now,” said UNITE HERE President D. Taylor. “UNITE HERE has a proud tradition of refusing to take concessionary contracts and changing lives around the world by raising the standards for union and non-union hospitality workers.
UNITE HERE Local 8 is the hospitality workers’ union of the Pacific Northwest and represents more than 5,000 members working in the hotel, food service, and airport industries in Washington and Oregon, including 400 Marriott workers at the Westin Seattle.