75 arrested at Labor Day hotel union protest

Seventy-five protesters were arrested Monday in San Francisco demanding improved conditions for hotel workers, police and union officials said.

Nearly 1,000 people turned out for the protest, which was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Yerba Buena Lane near the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, according to Unite Here Local 2, which represents hospitality workers in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

By 11:35 a.m. the arrests had begun.

Police said the 75 taken into custody were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor failing to obey the lawful command of a peace officer and blocking the roadway.

Protesters shut down Powell Street and blocked cable car lines to call attention to the low pay they receive.

The protesters called for Marriott Hotels to set an example for other hotel companies because Marriott is the largest and most profitable hotel chain in the world, according to organizers.

“One Job Should Be Enough” was the slogan associated with the protest, according to Unite Here, which in the U.S. and Canada represents 270,000 workers in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation and airport industries.

Protesters want to be paid enough at their hotel job so they don’t need a second job to make ends meet.

International president of Unite Here Donald Taylor said, “Too often workers welcome guests to Marriott hotels and deliver an unforgettable experience to them, just to leave their shift and go to a second job because working full time for Marriott isn’t enough to make ends meet.”

A Marriott spokesperson said Tuesday in response to Monday’s protest that the company’s “strength is rooted in our core value of putting people first. We celebrate and thank our associates for their contribution on this Labor Day.”

The spokesperson said, “We also respect our associates’ right to voice their opinions. Marriott International has longstanding and productive relationships with Unite Here and is negotiating in good faith and in a timely fashion to obtain the best outcomes for our associates and guests.”

-Keith Burbank, Bay City News

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