City leaders join the Wyndham Hotel picket line on Sunday

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In what organized workers at the Wyndham Historic District hotel are calling “Strikesgiving,” more than a dozen hotel workers lined up outside the Old City Hotel on Sunday, continuing an ongoing struggle for a raise. wages and better working conditions.

State Senator Nikil Saval, who previously expressed support for Local 274, was joined on Sunday by city council members Helen Gym, Kendra Brooks and Isaiah Thomas.

UNITE HERE Local 274 announced the strike on Twitter early Sunday morning, stating that “housekeepers, bartenders, food service staff, cooks, laundry attendants, dishwashers and bellboys have all quit their jobs or didn’t show up for a scheduled hotel shift, instead of joining a picket line. ” Those in attendance at the Philadelphia Marathon, which ended Sunday afternoon, may have caught a glimpse of workers outside the hotel, located at 400 Arch St. in the Old City.

Workers had previously voted to threaten a strike in late October and staged a picket line on November 8 and 15, ahead of ongoing negotiations with Wyndham hotel executives on a new contract, with their previous contract expiring in 2019.
The union has previously argued that plans to reopen Wyndham following the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic were not made in the best interests of its workers. Local 274 said they believed workers had a right to determine what the reopening and resumption looked like to them. Tthis means higher wages, lighter workloads and better working conditions.

In its strike announcement, the union said it was making efforts to “ensure decent wages and safer workloads for the majority of black, brown and immigrant workers” at the Wyndham Hotel.

On Sunday, City Council member Kendra Brooks started a dance line outside the Wyndham Hotel to show her solidarity with hospitality workers. She danced on the “Cupid Shuffle” with over a dozen picketers.

“When we show up for the workers, we show up with joy and music,” Brooks tweeted after the picket line. “The labor movement is a thing of beauty.”

State Senator Nikil Saval, who previously joined the workers for their November 15 picket line. This time, the senator joined the strike line with his son, Ishaan, to support the group with a song of solidarity.

Senator Saval said hospitality workers were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, which sent most industry workers home for months during the initial outbreak of the pandemic and then left them all behind. brought back to the start of the recovery and reopening of COVID-19.

He notes that all of these workers demand “reasonable workloads and living wages for the family,” and that jobs in the hospitality industry are jobs that the majority of Philadelphians without a college degree do and are often filled by employees. women, as well as black, brown and immigrant workers.

“I want to support workers who put their bodies at risk to raise standards not only for themselves, but across the hospitality industry,” Senator Saval said.

Other supporters included board member Isaiah Thomas, who rallied alongside the picketers. Rep. of State Malcolm Kenyatta also expressed support on Twitter, expressing solidarity with UNITE HERE! Local 274 and their fight for increased wages and benefits.
A representative from the Wyndham Hotel told NBC Philadelphia the hotel remained open and fully operational amid protests and picket lines from union members. Contract negotiations are still ongoing, although members of Local 274 hope UNITE HERE can help them in their fight for fair wages and working conditions.

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