Resist. Persist. Unions.
Striking hotel workers approved a contract agreement with Marriott on Monday to end San Francisco’s largest hotel strike in decades.
The strike, which began Oct. 4, spanned seven San Francisco hotels operated by Marriott. Almost 2,500 workers marched outside the hotels, demanding higher pay, lighter workloads and preservation of existing health benefits.
Workers overwhelmingly approved the contract with 99.6 percent in favor. They plan to return to work Wednesday, said Anand Singh, president of Unite Here Local 2, which represents hotel workers.
Details of the settlement weren’t immediately available. “We think it meets all of our goals and expectations,” Singh said. “This immediately sets the standard for hotel workers in this city.”
Contracts with other San Francisco hotel operators have also expired, and Unite Here Local 2 expects to negotiate new contracts soon with higher benefits after resolving the Marriott dispute.
Seven other locations also had Marriott strikes and reached labor agreements in the past few weeks: Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, Detroit, Boston, Maui and Oahu. Workers in Hawaii won a $6-per-hour wage increase over four years, Travel Weekly reported.
The San Francisco strike encompassed some of the city’s largest hotels, including the Courtyard Marriott Downtown, the Marriott Marquis, the Marriott Union Square, the Palace Hotel, the St. Regis, the W and the Westin St. Francis.
“We can confirm we have a tentative agreement. We look forward to welcoming our associates back to work,” said a Marriott spokesman.
Marriott said in a Nov. 6 earnings call that the strikes aren’t expected to affect the company’s financial performance. The company is the world’s largest hotel operator, with 6,700 hotels managed. The eight-city strike affected only 23 hotels. Marriott’s gross fee revenue rose 13 percent year-over-year in the third quarter to $932 million, beating analyst expectations.
Analysts agreed that the scale of Marriott’s operations means the strikes and new contracts with higher wages won’t hurt the company.
“It didn’t have a material impact on results,” said David Beckel, a senior analyst at Bernstein. He said a security breach of guest data that affected up to 500 million people — more than 6 percent of the world’s population — could do more damage to the company’s brand.
Marriott will continue to be a strong choice for hotel owners because of its scale, said Dan Wasiolek, a Morningstar senior analyst.
“They’re stumbling a little bit here” with the strike and data breach, said Wasiolek. But a bigger risk is a slowdown in the economy and corporate travel, he said.
Marriott expects revenue per available room to rise 1 to 3 percent in 2019, compared with a 4.6 percent increase in 2017.
In San Francisco, the strike had a larger local impact.
Events organized by the Communications Network, Shanti Project, Chicana Latina Foundation, Bay Area Wilderness Training and others moved out of Marriott hotels in solidarity with the workers, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Marriott bused in temporary workers from hours away to keep hotels running. Some temporary workers alleged they weren’t paid on time and were fired in retaliation for speaking to union leaders. Complaints have been filed with federal and state regulators.