San Francisco

Marriott Workers Continue Weeks of Strike in Bay Area, Across the Country

Over a thousand hotel workers took to the streets of San Francisco again Saturday, following over two weeks of protest to demand better pay from Marriott.

Employees from multiple Marriott-affiliated hotels marched down Market Street and waved signs that read "One job is not enough." They said Marriott employees aren’t making enough money to keep up with the rising cost of living in San Francisco. 

Seven downtown hotels in San Francisco are owned by Marriott: Marriottt Marquie, Marriott Union Square, Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, Westin Saint Francis, Saint Regis, the W Hotel and The Palace Hotel.

More demonstrations were followed in Oakland at 2 p.m. and in San Jose at 4:30 p.m., according to Unite Here union organizers.

They're among nearly 8,000 workers that have walked off jobs at Marriotts from Boston to Honolulu. Marriott is the world's largest hotel operator.

Marriott issued a new statement about the strikes Saturday, which echoed a similar statement made on Oct. 13, saying: "While we respect our associates’ rights to voice their opinions and participate in demonstrations and this work stoppage, we are disappointed that Unite Here has chosen to resort to a strike.

"We continue to believe that the best place to resolve these issues is at the bargaining table. We remain committed to negotiating in good faith to reach a fair contract for all parties. We will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work," the statement continued.

The union says workers are seeking better compensation to keep up with soaring housing and living costs. They're also concerned about new technologies that may replace their jobs.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested since the protests began on Oct. 4. Last week, 40 people were arrested in San Francisco, according to police.

In Hawaii, tourism officials say a union strike, especially a protracted one, would add to a dampening in tourism.

Guests staying at properties where workers are striking have been dealing with long check-in lines, restaurant closures and cutbacks to valet parking, housekeeping and other services.

A Marriott International spokesperson said the company has activated a contingency plans to ensure the chain will continue to operate. It didn't clarify what those plans are.

"We’re proud of our staff at these hotels for their dedication and commitment to continuing to serve our guests and we’re grateful to our guests for their patience during this period," the spokesperson said.

Kiki Intarasuwan contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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