Newly unionized airport hotel workers accuse Marriott of refusing to negotiate

Marriott’s leadership has yet to join the newly unionized workers at the bargaining table.

Recently unionized hotel workers who protested at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Hotel on Friday are accusing the hotel giant of refusing to negotiate over increased wages and benefits .

The Marriott Waterfront workers unionized earlier this year following a two-month strike that spread to Marriott hotels in eight cities, including in San Francisco.

Some 300 workers — including cooks, bartenders, servers and housekeepers — voted to unionize and were certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

However, Marriott’s leadership has yet to join the workers at the bargaining table, despite initially indicating that the company was willing to negotiate with them, according to UNITE HERE Local 2 spokesperson Ted Waechter.

Workers at recently unionized Marriott properties in Baltimore and San Diego – where the NLRB has also certified election victories for the union – have begun negotiations with the company, according to Waechter. A Marriott spokesperson did not return a request for comment by press time.

Carrying signs that read “One Job Should be Enough,” dozens of Marriott workers protested at the airport hotel on Friday, demanding that the company “keep its word” and start negotiations. Marriott workers from San Francisco commuted to the airport hotel to support workers there.

“It’s supposed to mean something when you vote – whether your boss likes the result or not,” said Local 2 President Anand Singh. “Marriott said it would respect the workers’ choice, but now this company isn’t honoring its word. The democratic process and rule of law still mean something in this country. Marriott can’t simply bury its head in the sand because it’s unhappy with the outcome.”

According to Waechter, Marriott workers at the airport hotel earn about $19.80 an hour, compared to the $26.44 hourly earning of Marriott workers in San Francisco who won new contracts following the strike.

Waechter acknowledged that the cost of living in San Mateo county is lower than in San Francisco. Still, he called the wage gap between workers in the two counties “extreme.”

“We are looking for serious improvements once we start negotiations,” he said.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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