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Striking Marriott workers eat Thanksgiving dinner on the picket line

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Caitlin DuBois, Local 8 UNITE HERE Seattle organizer, serves Thanksgiving dinner to striking San Francisco Marriott workers in front of the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy Jessica Etheridge)

Marriott hotel workers currently on strike held a Thanksgiving dinner on the picket line Thursday, according to the Unite Here Local 2 union.

As an act of defiance, the 2,500 workers and their families held the Thanksgiving potluck and started hanging Christmas decorations on the picket line “in a show of their resolve to strike during yet another holiday if Marriott refuses to make reasonable concessions at the bargaining table,” they said in a statement.

Jessica Etheridge, a 15-year Marriott waitress and striker who also stood on the picket lines on Thanksgiving day, said “it was really beautiful on a holiday like that to be doing social action with my family of workers who I work with every single day.”

“It was one of the most wonderful Thanksgivings I’ve ever had,” she said. “They are my family.”

Etheridge said the previous offers by Marriott in negotiations were “offensive.” She’s striking for the sake of her fellow workers, and also for her 15-year-old daughter.

The union, which represents hotel, food service, and airport workers was in negotiations with the hotel chain on Monday and Tuesday.

Marriott and the union were unable to end the strike during those negotiations, according to Unite Here. Thursday’s holiday marked the workers’ eighth week on strike. Negotiations are set to resume after Thanksgiving, though no specific dates have been set. Other strikes in San Jose and Oakland have been settled but they continue in San Francisco and Hawaii.

In a bit of tongue-in-cheek holiday cheer on Thursday, Unite Here pumped up their ranks with a turkey-day spin on a common rallying cry on Twitter:

“Yes. We. Cran.”

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