S.F. Mayor Breed Meets With Union, Expresses Support for Striking Hotel Workers

Striking hotel workers picket outside San Francisco's Palace Hotel, part of Marriott Hotels, on Oct. 6, 2018. (Bastian Greshake Tzovaras/Flickr)

Updated Monday Oct. 15, 2:50 p.m.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed met Monday with leaders of the union representing approximately 2,300 workers who walked off the job at seven Marriott hotels in the city, according to Unite Here Local 2 President Anand Singh.

"We met with Mayor Breed today and apprised her of the issues and status of contract negotiations," Singh said in a statement. "She naturally is supportive of what we are fighting for — to make one job enough for working people in San Francisco. We will remain in close communication and look forward to the mayor's support as we go forward."

Original Post, Oct. 13:

Mayor London Breed has decided to get involved in San Francisco's most extreme hotel labor dispute in more than a decade.

Sponsored

Breed says she supports the 2,300 workers who have walked off the job at seven Marriott hotels in the city and has asked their union to meet with her next week.

Word of the mayor's involvement in the dispute comes a day after dozens of Unite Here members were arrested during a protest outside the Marriott Marquis at 4th and Mission streets.

Among the arrested, according to the union, were Anand Singh, the head of Unite Here's San Francisco Division, Local 2, and Wei-Ling Huber, president of the union's East Bay unit, Local 2850.

It also comes after several San Francisco supervisors announced support for the strikers, including Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who called for Breed to take a more active role in the conflict.

On Friday evening, the mayor did just that.

"As a longtime supporter of organized labor, I support the rights of workers to organize, collectively bargain, and advocate for better wages and benefits," Breed said in a statement to KQED.

"We have been in contact with Unite Here Local 2 and I have invited representatives from the union to my office next week to discuss potential paths forward," the mayor said.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

On Oct. 4 housekeepers, kitchen workers, bartenders bellmen and others walked off the job at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, the Marriott Marquis, the Marriott Union Square, the Palace Hotel, the St. Regis, the W and the Westin St. Francis.

Similar strikes by Unite Here workers are taking place in San Jose, Oakland and several other cities around the country including San Diego, Boston and Detroit.

Unite Here Local 2 officials say the San Francisco strike is not expected to end any time soon. A union organizer said that since the walkouts began the two sides have not met, although there are plans to in the near future.

The union says its members are fighting for livable wages, job security and "an end to unsafe overwork," but has declined to offer details about its contract proposal.

Marriott has consistently said that it's disappointed in the union's decision to strike and that the company's hotels will remain open during the labor action. A spokesman for the hotel chain, though, has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the dispute.

The union's five-year agreement with Marriott ended Aug. 15. During that contract, the median income for its hotel workers was $44,000, according to Unite Here.

The walkouts have struck in the belly of one of San Francisco's most profitable sectors, its tourism and hospitality industries.

It's unclear how much pain that industry is feeling. There are some reports of customer complaints at hotels where workers are striking.

The Hotel Council of San Francisco has declined to comment on the strike

The city's travel association says it's not seeing a lot of conferences that are changing plans.

"We are aware of one organization that moved from one San Francisco hotel (on strike) to another San Francisco hotel and all ran smoothly," said Laurie Armstrong Gossy, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Travel, in an email.

"No citywide groups (using multiple hotels) have canceled or failed to book due to the labor action," Gossy said.

The Marriott strike marks the biggest hotel labor dispute since workers were locked out of more than a dozen city hotels in 2004, part of a weeks-long conflict that at one point, involved then-Mayor Gavin Newsom briefly joining a picket line.

Volume
KQED Live
Live Stream
Log In ToPledge-Free Stream
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
Live Stream information currently unavailable.
Share
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
KQED Live

Live Stream

Live Stream information currently unavailable.