Rashida Tlaib came to San Francisco on November 9th to speak at the annual Roots of Healing Gala, a benefit for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. The fundraiser took place at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, where workers voted to form a union eight months ago. Marriott said their employees could choose for themselves whether or not to form a union, but it took eight months after workers made their choice for Marriott to come to the table and start negotiating the contract.
Marriott workers are fighting for respect on the job, fair hours and wages, and safe working conditions. Congresswoman Tlaib spoke to Hercila Villalobos, a housekeeper at the Marriott Waterfront who fell and hit her head on a fixture while cleaning a guest’s bathroom. Years later, the injury still affects her balance. Now, Ms. Villalobos says, rushing to clean her assigned rooms is getting even harder.
The Marriott Waterfront, like many Marriott hotels, has the Make a Green Choice program. The Green Choice option lets guests decline housekeeping services entirely during their stay, meaning that rooms may be occupied for days without so much as having the carpet vacuumed. Housekeepers are laid off, and the rooms they clean when they come back to work are often in much worse shape. Because they are given no extra time to clean the dirtier Green Choice rooms, many housekeepers say they are forced to rush, and injuries went up by 49 percent according to a report from 2017.
After the event at the Marriott, Rashida Tlaib tweeted “Shame on you @Marriott for NOT treating your workers right.”
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 3, 2019
Join Rashida Tlaib in signing the pledge to support housekeepers and calling on Marriott to come up with a real sustainability program that does not hurt women workers.