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Thousands of SF hotel workers strike

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Oakland Marriott employees join in as well

Photos by Brock Keeling

On Thursday morning, the Unite Here Local 2 labor union announced that workers at San Francisco Marriott hotels were on strike, resulting in picket lines outside of busy downtown locales.

Via Facebook, the union said Thursday, “Thousands of Marriott Hotels workers at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown, the Marriott Marquis, the Marriott Union Square, the Palace Hotel, the St. Regis, the W, and the Westin St. Francis have walked off the job.”

Union President Anand Singh told reporters Tuesday, “The working conditions for housekeepers with this company are breaking our members’ bodies. On all of the issues most important to us, when we bring them to the table we’re met with resistance or silence.”

Singh called Marriott “a corporation that makes million of dollars off of our backs” and expressed anxiety about technology replacing their jobs.

The union wants higher wages for workers it says must resort to holding down two or three jobs in order to keep living in the Bay Area.

Unite Here claims over 12,000 members at hotels, restaurants, and laundries in San Francisco and San Mateo County.

Marriott workers in Boston are also on strike right now, and the union says workers in other cities are authorized to strike as well. KQED reports that “close to 200” workers at an Oakland Marriott walked out Friday morning.

“As the cost of living skyrockets in Oakland and the hotel industry is booming, many hotel workers cannot afford to live in the city where they work,” said Oakland union president Wei-Ling Huber.

On Friday morning, Marriott spokesperson Hunter Hardinge told Curbed SF that the hotel is “disappointed that Unite Here has chosen to resort to a strike” and added that the hotels remained open and that it would “welcome” any workers who chose to cross the picket line.

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes some of the striking locales, released a statement supporting the union.

“One hotel worker stated that many are fighting long-term illnesses [...] but must work several jobs/shifts in the cutthroat Bay Area economy, where we have the fastest growing income and wealth gap in the nation,” wrote Kim.

Unite Here authorized the strike two weeks ago and says it may continue indefinitely.