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San Diego hotel workers participate in national protest against Marriott company

Posted at 7:10 PM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-27 22:50:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)— Hundreds of Marriott hotel workers held picket signs in front of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Wednesday afternoon, hoping to send a message to corporate, after what they called failed union negotiations. This was one of eight protests held against the Marriott company, nationwide. 

“UNITE HERE” is the hotel workers' union that represents about 20,000 Marriott employees nationwide. About 12,000 of them have expiring contracts this year. “UNITE HERE Local 30” is the San Diego branch that represents several hundred Marriott workers from Westin San Diego Gaslamp, Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, Wyndham San Diego Bayside, and many others. 

Union representatives said they spent the last several months negotiating for better wages, getting adequate sexual harassment protections from guests, and assuring that new technology does not replace human jobs. However, they said the Hotel giant has not made any meaningful progress. 

“I can’t live like this,” said protestor, Karen Betancourt. The 25-year-old room service worker has been with the Westin Gaslamp for the last four years. She earns the minimum wage of $11.50 an hour, plus tips. She and her husband live in a studio apartment in Chula Vista, which is all they can afford. She said she used to work four to five days a week at the Westin Gaslamp, but recently, her hours were cut. So were her earnings. 

“Every schedule is different, so I’m just waiting to see how many days I’m going to work, to see how I am going to live that week. Like how I am going to pay my bills?” Betancourt asked. 

Betancourt said she loves her job. But she is starting to look for others to supplement her income. Many of her co-workers have already taken this route. The only reason she has not had to do this until now is her husband also works. However, the couple relies on her job for health insurance— something they may lose if her hours keep diminishing. 

“It's not a life. We have family, and we can’t even see them because we have to be here and there, just to make enough. Money to pay our bills. We just want to be paid fairly. That’s all we ask,” Betancourt said. 

Marriott is the world’s largest hotel company. The company has more than 1.2 million rooms in 127 countries. Last year’s revenue alone was $23 billion. These protestors said they just wished their paychecks reflected the company’s success. 

10News reached out to Marriott Corporate for comment. We have not heard back.