Women and men who greet guests, grill steaks, serve drinks and clean rooms at the Westin Book Cadillac are picketing the hotel downtown.
Some wear clear plastic ponchos to stay dry on a rainy Sunday, the first day of a strike over stalled contract negotiations. Chants include: “What’s disgusting? Union busting!”
The company’s contract proposal wouldn’t raise wages or insurance benefits.
“It’s just hours in and the rain has started pouring,” tweets Diana Hussein of the communications staff at Unite Here Local 24. “But . . . the line just keeps growing! Detroit is a union town! . . . Never felt more proud of my hometown and the courage of these workers.”
The local seeks “fair wages, solid benefits and safe, dignified working conditions” for hospitality workers. Neither side discloses details of what’s proposed.
We stood by Detroit through our city’s toughest times. We were a huge part of our city’s comeback. Now we’re on strike because one full time job at the Westin Book Cadillac should be enough to live in our city, pay the bills, and retire with dignity! #1job #MarriottStrike pic.twitter.com/1aI0CuCuDP
— UNITEHERE! Local 24 (@UHLocal24) October 7, 2018
“After months of negotiations,” a statement from the Detroit union says, “Marriott has refused to make one job enough for full time workers to support families on in Detroit or bring us to parity with other Detroit hotels.”
Workers at the Book Cadillac on Washington Boulevard make about $2 less on average than those at Marriott’s hotel in the Renaissance Center, Local 24 leader Nia Winston tells the Free Press.
♦ Related coverage: See our main news story here.
This is one of six cities around the country where workers have walked off the job at hotels owned by Marriott. A corporate statement says the Maryland-based chain’s “current economic proposal matches the economic terms in the parties’ last contract, which included the largest increases in the parties’ bargaining history.”
The eight photos below are from the union and Hussein, a three-year staff member with a communications and media studies degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
— Alan Stamm