Wyndham Philadelphia Staff Strike and Withdraw to Protest Working Conditions | Local News

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Hotel workers at the Wyndham Historic District hotel in Philadelphia went on strike Sunday morning.

Union officials said they wanted to ensure decent wages and better conditions for their workforce, which is predominantly black, Latin American and / or immigrant.

The workers are part of UNITE HERE Local 274, which represents approximately 4,000 hospitality workers in hotels, airports and food services in the Philadelphia area. Wyndham workers are part of a wave that has come to be known as the “Striketober” as unions across the country threaten jobs for jobs or quit work to protest the conditions.

The union’s contract expired in 2019. Union representatives said they met with hotel management to complete negotiations throughout the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reception staff spent the majority of the year at home due to a lack of hotel visits.

Since hotel visits have increased, however, staff said working conditions were not in the best interests of workers, prompting the union to call on management for a “worker-led takeover.” and people of color ”after the impact of the pandemic.

Staff said a number of factors have prompted them to demand more, ranging from higher workloads on fewer workers to not keeping up with increased responsibilities. The pandemic has cut staff by almost half, adding more work to those still employed.

“They got rid of the hostesses. They got rid of the hostess. So we were doing all of this, ”restaurant waitress Monica Burks, who has worked at the hotel for 13 years, told WHYY News in October.

Wyndham workers rejected a contract proposal that would spread wage increases over several years. They overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike in late October – their first time – and staged pickets on November 8 and 15 to put pressure on hotel management.

Still without a contract, the staff are now on strike.

“While we respect the right to strike of employees, we are disappointed that UNITE HERE has chosen this path,” a spokesperson for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts said in a statement. “The hotel is open and operational, and we have taken steps to ensure that guests are not affected.”

Wyndham workers have been outside the hotel since 5am Sunday at 400 Arch St. in Old Town chanting “Black Work Matters” and “We should define what the recovery looks like!”

Housekeepers, bartenders, food service staff, cooks, laundry attendants, dishwashers and hunters have left work or failed to show up for a scheduled Sunday morning shift, instead joining a picket line in front of the hotel.

They were joined in solidarity by other union members, community supporters, clergy and some politicians.

“The hardest hit workers in our city are hotel workers, who are predominantly black, brown and immigrant,” State Senator Nikil Saval tweeted. “They deserve a fair contract. They deserve a living wage for the family.

The union said 73% of the city’s hotel and food service workers were paid less than $ 25,000 a year for their work. The same study, titled Black Work Matters, found that Philadelphia got a hospitality job for every job lost in the manufacturing industry. The city’s service sector, according to the union, is growing rapidly and now comprises 40% of the city’s workforce.

Yet the vast majority of those workers do not earn a living wage, which for an adult and child in Philadelphia is $ 48,651 a year, according to the report.

“The most effective way to improve the future of our city is to support workers struggling for a higher standard of living and to put in place a training program to bring people from disadvantaged communities to good jobs. in the service sector, ”the report said.

“By proactively guiding development already underway, we can use the growing economy of Philadelphia as a motor to eradicate poverty in the city.

This article first appeared on WHYY.org.


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