Members of Unite Here Local 2 Overwhelmingly Vote to Strike at San Francisco's Seven Marriott Hotels
Roland Li | San Francisco Chronicle | September 14, 2018 3:04pm
Sept. 14--San Francisco Marriott workers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to authorize a strike.
The yes vote doesn't initiate a strike but allows members of the Unite Here Local 2 union to begin a walkout at any time. The vote Thursday evening was 98.6 percent in favor of striking.
The escalating dispute comes amid contract negotiations between around 2,300 hotel workers and Marriott, the city's biggest hotel employer with seven San Francisco hotels.
Union workers have said wages aren't high enough to survive in the high-cost Bay Area, and that Marriott isn't doing enough to protect workers from harassment from guests.
A potential strike could cripple the city's tourism industry during the active fall convention season. Salesforce's Dreamforce conference, which attracted nearly 200,000 attendees last year, is set to begin on Sept. 25.
Hotel workers around the country are embroiled in similar disputes. Chicago hotel workers have been striking for a week, and Hawaii and Boston Marriott workers voted earlier this week to authorize a strike.
"Too many hotel workers in San Francisco have to work two or even three full-time jobs to make ends meet, while others endure chronic pain due to unsafe working conditions, or live in fear of getting laid off. Marriott workers demand one job that is safe, secure, and enough to make ends meet -- enough to afford the cost of living, raise a family, and retire with dignity," Unite Here Local 2 said in a statement this week.
Last week on Labor Day, nearly 1,000 hotel workers marched and blocked city cable cars, leading to 75 arrests.
Marriott said last week that it "respects our associates' right to voice their opinions. Marriott International has long-standing and productive relationships with Unite Here and is negotiating in good faith and in a timely fashion to obtain the best outcomes for our associates and guests."
Last week, Marriott said it was giving housekeepers and other workers an alert device that summons help if the workers feel harassed or need help.
In 2000, workers at two Marriott hotels in San Francisco held a strike for two days.
Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @rolandlisf