Hotel workers are among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Even before this crisis, hotel workers, overwhelmingly immigrants and women of color, had a hard time making ends meet. Many of these displaced workers have dedicated decades of their lives to the hospitality industry, the backbone of our tourist economy. As the industry recovers, workers must share in this recovery and return to their jobs by seniority. It is also incumbent upon us to ensure that these workers are protected from the realities of housekeeping work as they return to their jobs.
(The following statistics are taken from a July 2016 survey of nearly 500 hospitality workers in Chicago)
- Just 19% of hospitality workers surveyed said they had received training from their employer about what to do when subjected to misconduct
- 96% of housekeepers surveyed said they would feel safer if they were equipped with a panic button
As the economy begins to reopen, we must not only ensure that hotel workers can return to work, we must ensure that they can do so with the protections they need. To this effect, Santa Monica passed a comprehensive “Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance” back in 2019. It is incumbent upon West Hollywood to do the same.
Let’s ensure Recovery Means Everyone by passing a policy that includes the following elements:
- Operational panic buttons housekeepers can use if there is an ongoing crime or threatening behavior to notify on-site security for assistance and protection against retaliation
- Comprehensive training so hotel room attendants can identify and report potential crimes, including domestic violence and sexual violence, protect public health, and understand and exercise their own rights
- Fair compensation if workers are required to clean more than a certain number of square feet during an 8-hour shift and a prohibition on mandatory overtime
- Right of recall to ensure that they can return to work in order of seniority, so that hospitality companies are not able to permanently replace their veteran workers with new workers whom they can pay lower wages.
- A worker retention provision to ensure that changes in hotel ownership or management do not result in worker layoffs but instead requires a period of transition where workers are kept on