A major California hotel has recently decided to settle with its housekeeping staff’s union. This settlement is considered by many to be unparalleled in the hotel business. The agreement that has been reached is intended to protect workers from unsafe conditions that could cause a work injury.
A critical part of this groundbreaking settlement between the hotel chain and its workers’ union is that it insists on certain tools and work practices that will keep the housekeepers safe as they do their jobs. The hotel must also now offer safety training to its housekeeping staff, as well as reduce the frequency of certain jobs that are known to cause repetitive strain injuries. Additionally, the hotel is required to let the housekeepers have a voice by setting up a committee that allows them to make decisions concerning safety.
The battle between the housekeepers and this particular hotel chain has been an ongoing and painful struggle. At one point, several housekeepers joined together to make a quilt that showed the stories of housekeepers. Most housekeeping staff with the hotel chain are female, and they have suffered crippling injuries for years as they facing ever-growing cleaning responsibilities. Finally, last summer, the housekeepers union was joined by women’s’ rights groups, union leaders and even some NFL players to hold a press conference that protested the hotel’s treatment of its staff.
Because of the significant changes being made in one hotel in California, changes will now be made in all other hotels in this chain across the state. This case most likely will affect housekeepers everywhere in a positive way for some time to come. After years of suffering debilitating work injuries, the housekeepers at a California hotel now have an opportunity to have their safety needs met on the job. If others in California are suffering from unsafe working conditions, or if they have suffered a work injury, they may want to consider researching their options to take legal action to defend their rights.
Source: People’s World, “Workers win safety deal at Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf,” Marilyn Bechtel, Jan. 15, 2013