Picket at Hilton Mission Valley

On Saturday November 11th, workers staged a picket at the Hilton Mission Valley, the latest in a long line of protests at the hotel. Workers marched and bullhorned outside the hotel from seven thirty in the morning until eight thirty.

A majority of workers at the Hilton Mission Valley have signed cards indicating their wish to join UNITE HERE Local 30, the hotel workers’ union.

The Hilton Mission Valley is owned and operated by HEI, a company that has come under fire nation-wide for mistreatment of workers. In recent years, six other HEI properties besides the Hilton Mission Valley have opened union organizing drives.

HEI workers picket Hilton Mission Valley

Workers from the Hilton Mission Valley and Marriott La Jolla picketed the Hilton Mission Valley the morning of Friday October 5th. They were joined by workers from other hotels.

The action was part of a string at the two HEI properties, including a Marriott La Jolla morning picket Sunday September 30th and a Marriott La Jolla afternoon picket Thursday September 20th.

Hilton Mission Bay workers say: “contract now!”

On Friday September 21, Hilton Mission Bay workers staged a picket of the hotel to protest against the company’s delaying tactics in bargaining.

The spirit on the line was good as over fifty workers from the property were joined by supporters from other hotels.

Picketers at the Hilton Mission Bay, September 21, 2012.

Marriott La Jolla workers go public with organizing drive

On Monday, September 10th, workers from the Marriott La Jolla brought their campaign to organize a union into the open.

A strong majority of the one hundred twenty workers at the HEI owned and operated property had signed cards indicating their wish to join UNITE HERE, the hotel workers’ union.

The workers went to the hotel to meet management face-to-face to demand a fair process to organize the union. They were joined by community allies, including: the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, students from UC San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University, the Employee Rights Center, the President of the San Diego Labor Council, and workers from another HEI property in San Diego. The group numbered around fifty.

Marriott La Jolla GM Gordon Luster met the delegation. He said he could meet workers individually to address their grievances, but that he did not deal with groups of workers. Workers responded that they were tired of unfulfilled promises. They expressed their dissatisfaction with wages, benefits, and conditions. After several minutes, Luster unilaterally ended the meeting.

The delegation then went to the lobby of the hotel, and were led in a prayer by Reverend Beth Johnson.

The workers campaign marks the seventh HEI hotel to open up an organizing drive.

HEI Campaign

So far, organizing workers at the Hilton Mission Valley, an HEI property, have not succeeded in getting a fair process to decide on union representation.

They are not alone in their fight – across the country HEI workers and their community supporters are standing up for justice. You can find information about this nationwide effort at http://www.heiworkersrising.org

Westin Gaslamp workers unanimously ratify first contract

On July 9, workers unanimously ratified the first union contract at the Westin Gaslamp. The workers began organizing in the fall of 2010, and the 13-person Organizing Committee signed up nearly 80% of the workforce on union authorization cards in February 2011. Local 30 was recognized in March, and, days later, Starwood sold the hotel to Pebblebrook Hotel Trust. 

Negotiations began smoothly, but turned contentious when core economic issues–particularly achieving affordable family health care–came up. In January, workers began taking action, picketing the hotel more than a dozen times (including a massive march on May 1 with supporters in the Occupy movement), leafleted customers on numerous occasions, and reached out to union-friendly customers to inform them about the struggle to win affordable health care.

 Highlights of the 5-year contract include an immediate reduction of the Housekeeping workload from 17 to 15 rooms a day with room drop language for days with heavy checkouts and multiple floors, wage increases from $4.50 to $5.25 for most non-tipped workers, and a sharp and immediate reduction to the cost of health care. In April 2017, Starwood will begin paying hourly contributions to Local 30’s health fund. The contract covers approximately 140 workers.

“This contract is a victory for all of us at the Westin,” said Room Attendant Celia Cortez. “Conditions at the hotel had gotten worse over the years, but once we came together across the hotel, we were determined to win a fair workload, respect at work, and good health care for ourselves and our families.”