San Diego hotel strike hurting local businesses

Posted at 5:54 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-29 20:54:39-04

San Diego (KGTV)- As Westin Hotel workers fight for better wages, local business owners are fighting to keep business.

Hotel workers have been on strike for the past few weeks. Business owners say customers are now avoiding the area and its costing them money.

Joey Aiello owns a shoe shine stand that sits outside of The Westin Hotel. He says he’s seen fewer customers this month because of the strike. “People don’t think its a big business but it supports my family,” says Aiello.

He says since the workers hit the picket line, he’s lost $1200 in business. “The first week they were here I made less than $100 a day. We have to make $200 a day to stay a float.” Other business also say they are concerned about the noise.

The San Diego Police Department says they have received six complaints since October 9th. A spokesperson with Marriott International sent us this statement that says in part:

“We are disappointed with some of the tactics the union has deployed including the noise levels. We continue to work with local police to address these issues and we are grateful to our guests for their patience during this time.”

The Unite Here Union President, Bridgette Browning, says employees are now in negotiations with the hotel. She also sent us a statement that says:

“While we are sympathetic to neighboring businesses - we believe the Marriott has the power to fix this strike and the businesses should be demanding that Marriott do the right thing. The workers are not to blame for the low standards that Marriott has created at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp. The workers are prepared to settle as soon as Marriott decides to do the right thing and sign a contract that provides living wages.”

For business owner Joey Aiello, he says he won’t be able to make back the money he’s lost. “I just have to work harder and keep everything a float the best I can.”