For 61 days members of UNITE HERE Local 2 struck at seven Marriott hotels in San Francisco during a national campaign targeting the world’s largest hotel corporation. The San Francisco union was the last to settle and go back to work.
Room cleaners won a $1.75 per hour raise retroactive to last August, and significant raises in the next three years, while fully employer-paid health care is guaranteed for the life of the contract. Housekeepers won workload reductions. The new contract strengthens workers’ rights around the introduction of technology in the workplace, the “Green Choice” program, sexual harassment of room cleaners by guests, employee safety, and immigration. The strike stopped Marriott from contracting out room service and food service in a number of hotels. In San Francisco, workers won unprecedented job protections — if they’re laid off their names go into a pool where they’ll receive preference for rehiring at other hotels.
The agreement was the result of the strike’s meticulous planning and the participation of workers in the seven hotels. In four hotels, not one Local 2 member crossed the picket line. Only a few did in the other three hostelries at which workers were on strike.
The images in this photo essay were taken on the last day of the strike. In the photographs, the workers react on the picket lines to the end of the strike, weigh the proposed agreement, vote on it and then celebrate it.
To hear the workers’ own accounts of the strike and why the union won, read Truthout’s exclusive interview with UNITE HERE Local 2 President Anand Singh and UNITE HERE Local 2 organizer and Marriott campaign coordinator Kevin O’Connor.
Text and all photographs copyright David Bacon
David Bacon is a writer and photographer, and former union organizer. He is the author of several books on labor, migration and the global economy, including In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte, The Children of NAFTA, Communities Without Borders, Illegal People and The Right to Stay Home.
First published by Truthout.org (https://truthout.org/articles/photo-essay-marriott-workers-celebrate-victory-on-the-picket-line/) 9 January, 2019.